Art colors the walls with pieces by five artists on the Autism spectrum


Annie Lancaster

Alex Nichols makes woven wall art along with scarves, bowls and ornaments.

by Annie Lancaster, Contributor

White walls were covered in an array of color: paintings, digital art, weavings, drawings and even Christmas ornaments on Nov. 8 at the“Autumn Autism and Art Soiree.”

The artists had the opportunity to display and sell their art, and visitors enjoyed wine and cheese as they viewed the work of five artists who are on the Autism spectrum.

The San Diego State Center for Autism collaborated with The Art of Autism to co-host the event at the SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders.

The featured artists included Alex Nichols, Austin Jones, Jeremy Sicile-Kira, Joel Anderson and Kevin Hosseini.

Each artist was given their own space to hang or arrange their art, accompanied by individual biographies.

Vinton Omaleki, outreach coordinator for the Center for Autism, said this event falls under the center’s mission for community engagement.

He also said showcases like this fill a social gap and provide an outlet for participants’ voices to be heard.

Some of the artists have been making work since childhood.

Austin Jones, a graduate from ArtCenter College of Design, said he knew he was creatively inclined at a young age.

“I told my mom and dad at five years old at the dinner table, ‘Mom, Dad, I want to be an artist’,” Jones said.

Others decided to create later in their lives.

Jeremy Sicile-Kira was inspired by dreams he had of being in an art show, according to his biography.

Artists displayed and sold art throughout the event.

Sicile-Kira has synesthesia, which he defines as having senses that are mixed.

He sees the emotions of people as colors and hears music as emotions which are then translated into colors.

Painting around these senses, his work is layered with vibrant hues.

Alex Nichols started weaving a few years ago and now sells his woven wall art, scarves, bowls and ornaments.

He offers custom works called “Memory Weavings,” dedicated to loved ones.

Debra Hosseini was a co-founder of The Art of Autism, and is the mother of artist Kevin Hosseini.

“The thing that I think is really misunderstood about autism is that because (people on the spectrum) don’t perceive things like you or me – neurotypical people – that they don’t have other skills or other ways of perceiving the world,” Hosseini said.

There are many opportunities for people to get involved with the Center for Autism and events like these.

Dr. Inna Fishman, founding director of the Center, said they always welcome volunteers who both have experience with special needs or are interested in learning.

Events and activities include hiking groups, play groups, movie nights, game night and yoga in the park.

Annie Lancaster is a senior studying journalism.

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