Meet the “Through Our Eyes” Artists


Madison House Autism Fondation, 1 April 2014

Picture by Esther Brokaw

Esther Brokaw was born in 1960 in Woodbury, N.J. and currently resides in S.E. Connecticut. She became aware of autism in 2004 when her 12 year old daughter was diagnosed. Subsequently, she herself was diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome with savant abilities in patterns. As a pattern savant her abilities encompass math, music, and visual spatial skills. She has lived a varied life, having worked as a roofer, a carpenter, a salesperson and a waitress in addition to having had years of speech and voice training. She graduated from the University of North Texas in 1985 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and has worked most as an equity trader, a career which makes use of her gift for patterns. In 1990, when she took time off to have children, she began to explore her passion for painting and discovered an incredible talent. Her work has been shaped not only by her autism but also by having survived mercury poisoning, life-long Celiac Disease and all the complications that come with having two immune suppressing illnesses. Her brush detail is colorful and intense as she paints through years of traumatic illness, using color in an attempt to inspire and heal herself.

Picture by Colleen Creedon

Colleen Creedon is positively engaged in a social network of artists. Her artwork provides her with a source of comfort, creative expression and increases her self-esteem. As a teenager, Colleen studied dance with Manhattan’s Broadway Dance Center, The New Jersey Ballet Company and the Whole Theater Company. Unfortunately, a serious foot injury interrupted her dreams of pursuing a dance Career. Shortly thereafter, she experienced the onset of bipolar disorder, from which many years of hardship ensued. However, with her resilient spirit, she has developed the insight necessary to manage her mental illness. Today, with proper medication and new interests, Colleen lives an independent and healthy life. Colleen’s participation in the Artists‘ Mentoring Group has offered her the opportunity to build a new community. These relationships inspire her creativity through the arts. Colleen has volunteered as a teacher assistant for the Artists’ Mentoring Group, working with students on the autism spectrum. In addition she has also volunteered at Universal Institute, working in the arts with disabled brain trauma patients. Colleen’s art has been featured in an ABC Eye Witness News interview, Johns Hopkins University, and Jerry Rose Florist in Maplewood, NJ.

This article shows how Autism can inspire creativity and can provide artists with a source of comfort. Similar to physical exercise, art can help increase self-esteem in artists as well.