"Look At Me"

"Look At Me"
monotype and screenprint

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What the Project is About!

The Autism Art Project Begins
March 19, 2011

"Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do."
~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr

Well, here goes nothing.  I'm about to embark on the scariest journey of my life.  I could succeed as an artist, or I could fail.  But I figure I might as well try...

My 3 year old son Derek is autistic.  He is in therapy 25-30 hours a week.  My husband and I hired someone trained in ABA (applied behavior analysis) and four college students to come to our house 7 days a week and teach Derek every day skills and how to communicate.  He has come a LONG way in the past year.  He is now potty trained, has better eye-contact, and can even say a few words...just to name a few of the things he has learned.  Anyway, all of our spare money goes to therapy.  It is worth every penny.

I am an artist.  A printmaker, to be exact.  I make monotypes, etchings and screenprints and then sew them all together.  I can get some pretty neat effects by layering things that are nearly IMPOSSIBLE to get by painting or drawing.  That's why I love printmaking. But we have no money.  In the very near future, I'm going to put something on a website called kickstarter to see if people will help me raise money...I don't have the art materials I need to continue. I'm praying for a miracle. 

The Autism Art Project has been floating around in my mind for over a year now.  I have two pieces completed already.  I don't just want to do pieces about my son, I want to tell other kids' stories as well.  Most children with autism can't communicate very well.  Some can't speak at all.  I want to be their voice; tell their story.  My first goal is to have a gallery show (more than one, if possible!!) I would also like to tell Derek's story at autism conferences and eventually publish an illustrated book.  I think this idea could go far and reach a lot of people.  The numbers are growing and this project has the potential to raise a lot of autism awareness.  More than that, however, it will help to connect families who are feeling alone and don't know who to turn to for help. When Derek first started going downhill, I had no idea where I was supposed to go for help. I knew that early intervention was key, but it was surprisingly hard to find. I live in a small town. As far as I know, Derek is the only autistic child that lives here. I feel very, very alone sometimes.

That is what this is all about. To tell Derek's story and other kids' stories and to bring hope to others on this journey. Wish me luck!


  1. Great idea! Taking care of yourself is very important. You will inspire your kids to be creative and passionate. From what I've seen of Derek's artwork (on facebook), I have a feeling Mommy and son will connect of a deep level for many, many years through art.

    My husband set up a "chip in" link for a non-profit last year. I don't think it was very hard. He did it through paypal and linked it to facebook and the groups webpage. They raised a few thousand dollars from people just chipping in $5 or $10. Email JT if you want some details. I'm sure he'd be happy to help!

  2. Hi! I'm getting in touch because I absolutely love your picture of the puzzle pieces made with melted crayons. I'm interested in using this picture on a small fundraising page for my aspiring nonprofit organization. I don't really have any money to offer you, but I didn't want to use your picture without asking.

    A little more about me: I'm 22 years old, and I just graduated from college this May. My 19-year-old sister has autism, so I've grown up as a member of the global autism community. I'm currently in the process of trying to start a nonprofit organization to better serve adults with autism spectrum disorders. Once my organization is up and running, I hope to open a bakery-cafe that will employ adults with ASD.

    As I said before, I don't really have any money to offer you-- I'm struggling to raise funds myself. But I hope you'll allow me to use the picture on my fundraising webpage, and perhaps I can send you a shipment of baked goods from the bakery-cafe when everything is up and running!

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    All the best,
    Sara Mae