Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 2 - Page 14

and nice, it was Colin, the artist, who became a part of our extended family and forever changed Kevin’s life. “Draw me a picture,” Kevin demanded upon learning that Colin was artistic. “You draw me a picture,” Colin replied back. Kevin wasn’t pleased with Colin’s response; however, he picked up a marker and drew something that resembled a dog, and this time it wasn’t black. The next week Colin brought watercolors, the week after that they painted with acrylics, the third week it was oils, and so on. Colin’s tutelage included going to the library with Kevin in search of art books. They’d come home with books on Van Gogh, Kadinsky, Hopper, and Gauguin. Kevin would pour over the pictures as Colin talked to him about the artists. During this phase, Kevin created paintings, which we called Kevin Gauguins, Kevin Van Goghs, and Kevin Kadinskys. Colin used art to enhance Kevin’s social communication. “What color comes from yellow and blue?” Colin would ask while dabbing each color on Kevin’s palette. Kevin mixed them and replied, “Green.” Kevin was learning the art of conversation with ART through practical and visual experiences, in a way that, I have come to find out, many autistics seem to learn. Previous page: Kevin Hosseini Smithsonian VSA Exhibit “Bus or Cycle” in Acrylic This page: Kevin doing what he loves… painting Next page: Grant Manier’s “Puzzled Butterfly” Colin the art therapist may have started out showing us how to communicate with our boy better, but he taught us a great deal more. He showed us how to follow our child’s lead and taught us that a child’s obsessions can become an art form—LITERALLY! Kevin, from a young age, was obsessed with trains, so we encouraged him to put the trains on canvas. As with many things, you never know where creativity can lead. One of Kevin’s train paintings ended up at Union Station in Washington D.C. for an art exhibit, and last year his painting “Bus or Cycle” travelled the world as part of a VSA art exhibit. We were even flown to Washington D.C. for the unveiling at the Smithsonian. (To see more of Kevin Hosseini’s artwork, visit his webpage.) Kevin’s experience inspired me to find other autistic young people, and in so doing, I compiled the book The Art of Autism: Shifting 14 Zoom Autism Through Many Lenses