These Artists Prove Autism is No Barrier To Creativity


By Violet Fenn, Metro, 21 April 2018

Public perception of autistic people as ‘Rain Man’ style geeks is finally changing, thanks to increased media visibility and awareness. But there’s still an assumption that autistic people are mostly tech whizzes who wouldn’t know their Leonardo from their Lichtenstein. This is a huge misconception though as there are many people in the creative industry, as well as celebrities, with autism. I spoke to 10 artists about their work and how being autistic impacts – often positively – on their creativity.

Picture by Jon Adams

Jon Adams is from Portsmouth. He works in digital media, sound, drawing, performance and poetry.

“Although I was diagnosed later in life, being autistic has influenced my arts practice positively. I became a geological and archeological book illustrator using my skills in 3D and love of detail. I was able to work to deadlines and enjoyed the solitariness of self-employment. I started making conceptually and socially engaged projects using my synaesthesia, systemising and literalness as artistic tools. I mapped two million minutes of my life in a ‘geological metaphor’ during the London 2012 Olympics. Autistic creatives are mostly invisible and unsupported. I’ve set up Flow Observatorium to push for recognition and cultural inclusion.”

Picture by Anna Berry

Anna Berry, 40, is from Milton Keynes. Although she works in many mediums, she is best known for her dramatically fragile paper sculptures.

“I most often work with installation and intervention, and in non-gallery settings. My work explores issues surrounding reality and experience and by extension, the nature of reality.  This isn’t an abstract concern for me, but one born out of my own struggle – it’s been apparent to me since childhood that my experience of the world is very different from the neuro-typical one.  I don’t tell anyone about my autism, because I find that there’s massive stigma and I have to deal with people not taking me as they find me. I’m literally the opposite of what they expect from the usual stereotype of autism in that I’m highly emotionally intelligent and very social, so the expectation is just really unhelpful. “

This article shows how people with Autism are not just tech whizzes, they can also be very creative and artistic. Often, these artists’ Autism impacts their work positively.