I am Proud to be an Autistic, African-American Artist

Ronaldo Byrd "A Train Submission"
Ronaldo Byrd "A Train Submission"

Ronaldo Byrd shares 9 art portraits of people he admires for Black History Month.

By Ronaldo Byrd, Compiled by Keri Bowers

I am proud to be African American because it doesn’t matter what color you are or where you came from. It’s our differences that make us unique and special.

My Mom taught me to believe in myself as a man and in my abilities as an Artist. The fact that some people believe that the color of my skin makes me inferior to them, should not be the truth in America or the world.

I express myself and find freedom from the thoughts of others, and through my artwork. The 9 paintings I submitted for the Art of Autism’s Annual Black History Month Project include people I greatly admire.

My paintings in general include Urban, suburban, and rural goth punks, DJs, golfers, clowns, and kids of every color. My people-scenes number over 300+ original characters I created from my imagination. I feel I know these people.

Thank you for viewing my series of Black people whom I admire.

Ronaldo Byrd "Tyson"
Ronaldo Byrd “Tyson”

Cicely Tyson is the other champ. She is an actress who broke down barriers.

Ronaldo Byrd Obama
Ronaldo Byrd “Obama”

The first black man to be elected President of the United States.

Ronaldo Byrd Vice President Harris
Ronaldo Byrd Vice President Harris

The first woman Vice President of color.

Ronaldo Byrd "Simply Michelle"
Ronaldo Byrd “Simply Michelle”

Michelle Obama was the first lady of color to be the first lady in the White House. She is down to earth, yet classy.

Ronaldo Byrd "Frederick Douglass"
Ronaldo Byrd “Frederick Douglass”

Frederick Douglass escaped slavery and became the leader of the Abolitionist movement in New York and Massachusetts. He became famous for his writings and speeches on slavery.

Ronaldo Byrd "Ms. Carroll"
Ronaldo Byrd “Ms. Carroll”

Diahann Carroll broke down barriers by being the first African American woman to play a professional in the T.V series “Julia”

Ronaldo Byrd Sidney Portier

Sidney Portier was the first black Actor to win an Academy Award in 1964.

Ronaldo Byrd "Home Run King"
Ronaldo Byrd “Home Run King”

Hank Aaron was a baseball legend. He played for the Atlanta Braves and was known as the “Home Run King”.

Ronaldo Byrd "Natalie"
Ronaldo Byrd “Natalie”

Natalie Cole, daughter of American Singer and Jazz Pianist, Nat King Cole, was an American Singer, Songwriter and Actress. She rose to fame in the 70s and 80s with hit songs that include the song, Inseparable.

Follow Ronaldo on Instagram and Facebook.
You can see more of his art on his website.


The Art of Autism and I first met Ronaldo, a shy, self-taught artist on a cold wintery night in the Theater District in Manhattan several years ago. Ronaldo had submitted art for the backdrop of a play called “The ‘A’ Train”, a one woman show about autism, written and performed by AoA friend and collaborator, Annie Torsiglieri. The play was stunning. The art was too.

There is something magical that occurs when the lights go down, the theater hushes, and the play begins. This night was made more spectacular by the inclusion of bold, impressive works made by #actuallyautistic artists included.

Ronaldo Byrd "A Train Submission"
Ronaldo Byrd “A Train Submission”

Byrd works mostly in acrylics, while listening to classical or popular music.

“It’s what I do full-time,” he says of his work smiling. “Every day and every night.” My bedroom door opens into a floor-to-ceiling gallery, where I’m immediately immersed in vivid depictions of holidays, parades, street fairs, and sporting events.

I could look at his paintings all day,” says Byrd’s mom, Valerie.

As a little boy in Brooklyn, where Byrd was born (his parents are from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, in the Caribbean), “he wasn’t talking yet” she notes, but was drawing very well. We agree.

In 2018, Ronaldo participated in The Art of Autism/Apple collaboration Created on iPad project.

Ronaldo Byrd

Ronaldo has been a highly interactive artist taking full advantage of The Art of Autism’s Projects and contests. We hope you’ll interact with us too. In this way, we get to know you and what you love to create. Please join us in our ongoing projects, blogs, and other opportunities such as this one for Black History Month. Look for our next BHM edition of this series coming soon. You can sign up for our newsletter here www.the-art-of-autism.com

The addition of your works help us shine!

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