“My autism inspires me to see beauty and gives me the will to Dream,” Anthony LaRocca
By Debra Muzikar
Anthony LaRocca, 29, started drawing dinosaurs when he was only 4 years old. Anthony still loves dinosaurs and art has become one of his lifelong passions. He paints every day often working on six paintings at a time. Despite his autism, Anthony graduated from high school with honors. His favorite subjects are Art, History, and Science. Anthony’s mom Kim says, “Socialization is one of Anthony’s biggest challenges. The art is helping him to break through. It’s his way of connecting with the world.”
Anthony recently moved to South Carolina from Florida. In Florida he worked with the organization Artists with Autism. Artists with Autism is networking group for autistic artists based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Their main goal is to provide guidance, expertise, and venue resources for the 20 aspiring artists they represent who live in South Florida. When he resided in Florida Anthony did live painting at their store. Even though he now resides in South Carolina Anthony still participates in Artists with Autism sending them paintings and images for their website.
Cynthia Drucker of Artists with Autism says, “When I saw Anthony’s art, I immediately saw the tremendous talent this young man has. His art is colorful with gentle soft brush strokes and an equally gentle personality. He has a very supportive family that will ensure his success as a professional artist.”
Anthony loves animals. He has a service dog named Rocco in South Carolina and a cat named Eddie at his mom’s house in New Jersey. Animals are a subject of many of Anthony’s art pieces.
Anthony’s family comes together around Anthony’s art. His Dad photographs the art, his stepmom maintains Anthony’s website and his mom helps him get his art out into the world. Anthony attributes his successes to help from his family, pets, and teachers. Anthony’s art is a social experience. He loves to draw art pieces for family and friends. The people he draws art for will reciprocate by taking him out to dinner or giving him a card.
Anthony favorite holiday is Christmas. His mom calls him “Mr. Christmas.”
“Anthony loves everything about Christmas from the music to the decorating of trees. Every year he paints a holiday painting and creates a holiday card on his Imac,” Kim says. Anthony gives many of his paintings away. He watches people’s expressions when they receive his art. Their pleasure in his creations makes him happy. “Every time I painted a picture for someone they would become happy,” Anthony says.
Anthony loves when people like his Facebook page or when people comment on his online art gallery. Anthony paints things he is passionate about. His online art gallery includes many Star Wars paintings, paintings of animals, and holiday paintings. His website includes testimonials from people inspired by his art.
When asked about his autism Anthony says, “It is a very complex and imaginable thing. My autism inspires me to see Beauty and gives me the will to Dream.”
Anthony will also be selling his art and cards at craft fairs in South Carolina and online at the Artists with Autism website.
This article originally appeared in The Autism File Mind’s Eye column. Debra Muzikar has a regular column that features artists and creative people on the autism spectrum.