Art is Autism, Autism is Art


beresfordI was born March 14, 1982 in Oakville, Ontario (Canada) and I spent most of my life growing up in Burlington, Ontario. In my youth I was extremely quiet and withdrawn, only really finding personal enjoyment working in solitude creating my artwork. My parents were enthralled with my artistic talent when at 3 years old I was able to draw three-dimensional images in grave detail. Their concern for my well being rested in the fact that although I was clearly a gifted artist at the age of four I was still unable to speak. Given that many aspects of my development was severely delayed, both of my parents were very concerned and so they looked to the medical community for advice. I was diagnosed with a learning disability at a very young age but my social impairments left doctors puzzled until age nine, when I was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). My learning style is quite different than most people as I struggle greatly with comprehending verbal communication. I have always been a visual learner and to date I am best able to convey my thoughts, feelings and emotions via visual communication, through my artwork. I spent my childhood refining my artistic skills, sketching and painting while remaining introverted as my ASD created impairment in my ability to communicate socially. With age, however, I slowly came out of my shell and as I developed into my teens I began expanding my social horizons while still focusing intently on refining my artistic talent. I now regularly showcase my work at various Autism conferences to share my life experiences as well as my artwork with the public.

Education/Experience Following graduation from high school in Burlington Ontario I was accepted into Sheridan College to earn a diploma through attending their world-renowned Illustration program. After having graduated that program in 2004, I have been working as a professional illustrator and caricature artist. I have spent several years developing my skills as a caricature artist at Canada’s Wonderland. I expanded my experience in the art world to include working other public spheres like festivals such as the Oakville Jazz festival and the Toronto Busker Fest. I also regularly do caricature art at various private functions such as birthday parties. My most recent projects include the use of airbrush techniques working on various mediums such as T-Shirts, furniture and Motor vehicles. My current focus is to continue refining my skills working with an airbrush. My Inspiration My illustrations and paintings tend to contain bright, vibrant colors with distorted and exaggerated images. I enjoy doing caricatures as it gives me a chance to combine humor with my artwork. I am also a musician (I play the drums and guitar) and my passion for 70’s music tends to come out in the pieces that I design. I enjoy working with very psychedelic images while often evoking some of the themes impressed by Salvador Dali. I believe by using very vibrant, lively colors my work presents with a lot of character conveying intense feelings of emotion.