Art is just between you and the canvas

Most people probably spent the last weekend driving and thinking about who they wanted to see win the Super Bowl. Well, due to the one-sided nature of the game, my brain went elsewhere. I was fixated on a link that my aunt who works with autistic students sent me. It was a photo of a painting done by an autistic savant, and it blew me away. It was a drawing of the New York City skyline drawn by world-famous architect Stephen Wiltshire. He took a ride in a helicopter above the city for 20 minutes and draw it all by hand from memory. Yes, from memory.

Wiltshire working on his NYC skyline. Photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk
Wiltshire working on his NYC skyline. Photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

I will be the first to tell you that painting and drawing are not my cup of tea. My doodles resemble noodles more than the cats or whatever they are intended to be (I do play some musical instruments however). When my mind would wander, I would see Wiltshire’s art and was just blown away again. Someone considered this man disabled because he is autistic, but when I look at that artwork, disability  is the furthest thing from my mind. I see an ability that is worthy of the awe it inspires.

Art is about expression, and in that is the beauty. Everyone can make art that shows themselves. Wiltshire’s art isn’t amazing because he is disabled, it is amazing because it is. He is showing his beautiful art, which in turn shows his beautiful heart and mind.

I knew that he couldn’t be the only person creating such awesome works, so I set out to find the art of other disabled artists who deserve to be seen for the craftsmanship they possess. I am going to share a few different sites and links, so please take a little time to hear the stories and see the art, and feel what it means to you.

Web Designer Depot has an awesome page of almost a dozen different artists with their work. Each segment tells the story about each artists and what got them into their specific medium. Some of the artists are autistic, some don’t have arms, and one is even a quadriplegic. It is some incredible stuff: http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2010/03/the-amazing-art-of-disabled-artists/

The NIAD Art Center is based out in Richmond, Cali. and it is an art studio and gallery specifically for people with disabilities. The Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists of the World is another group like the NIAD Art Center, but on a more specific and international basis. Both work to get art into the world, and to support people living as artists by selling their works.

Do you know of more incredible artists? Organizations that help to get art out into the world? Please share in the comment section below!