San Diego Festival of the Arts 2020 – Participating Artists

The Art of Autism is proud to be part of the 2020 San Diego Festival of the Arts. Proceeds from the festival benefit those with physical disabilities.



Alex Nichols

Alex Nichols is a freestyle weaver who follows the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which represents embracing imperfection. Using a Saori loom and various hand weaving techniques, Alex creates wild and free wall hangings mixing textures and vibrant colors using yarn and unconventional materials such as strips of fabric from clothing like Aloha shirts, wire ribbon, jewelry, and toys. Alex is an artist with special needs who expresses himself through weaving and painting.



Austin Jones

Austin John Jones has been an aspiring artist ever since he was 5 years old, drawing all the time in the classroom. Very early on he went under the mentorship of French painter Sophie Plassard, where he learned under her tutoring for 12 years doing mostly drawing and painting. Because of this, Austin has a great amount of experience in oil painting. After graduating high school, Austin went to Art Center College of Design where he graduated with a degree in illustration and a minor in entertainment art. Austin loves cartoons, movies, video games, and almost everything entertainment. He has been a dedicated artist all his life, and has been teaching what he has learned to people of all ages ever since he graduated college. Austin graduated from the Teaching Artist Institute and has shown his work locally in San Diego County for the last five years.



Brendan Kerr

Brendan Kerr is a San Diego native and at an early age was diagnosed with autism. Highly visual with a unique perspective, Brendan has explored media that can represent how he sees the world, seeking to connect and share his experience. Brendan enjoys documenting the local music scene and social events throughout San Diego County. Also adept at fiber art, fine art and graphic design, Brendan has won several 1st place awards at the San Diego County Fair, and his artwork has been shown in Expressions magazine. He is available to photograph private or public functions or other commission work such as custom weavings that evoke the colors of nature.



Jeremy Sicile-Kira

San Diego-based intuitive artist Jeremy Sicile-Kira is a synesthete – he sees emotion in color. In 2012, Jeremy (who is autistic and communicates by typing) began to tell others about his dreams: dreams that he was painting the emotions of people into colorful abstract portraits. One night he dreamt that he painted ten of his paintings and had an art show. Jeremy was encouraged by his mother to make this dream come true, and began to paint in real life. In 2016 his first curated solo art show was covered by national and local media, resulting in a sold-out show and many private commissions. Awards include: 2016 ART San Diego Spotlight Artist; RMG’s 2016 Platform Artist of the Year, Finalist. Jeremy currently meets clients in his studio in San Diego, or via Facetime or skype. Advocacy for others like Jeremy who have no voice is an important part of his life. Jeremy co-authored a book A Full Life with Autism (Macmillan) and served as a Youth Representative to the United Nations for the Autism Research Institute (NGO); as a youth leader for the Autistic Global Initiative, and as a youth advisor to the California Employment Consortium for Youth (CECY). Now, Jeremy gives presentations at conferences and at local schools to inspire others.



Artist, author, international speaker and philanthropist who is known as The Artist of Smiles from Fallbrook, California, Joel Anderson creates his art in acrylic, mixed media, digital media, animation, and video production. Joel’s heart is to bring a smile to everyone who sees his artwork and video productions. As a sought after keynote speaker, Joel is an international artist and ambassador with autism who has spoken in Peru, China2X, Canada, and across the United States. One of Joel’s favorite projects was being hired to create his animation “How Germs Spread” now used across Africa to encourage safe water habits. Proceeds from art sales support “Smile Bags” which he created to fill backpacks with arts supplies that Joel gives to children on his journeys and with the foundations he supports. Joel’s art has been featured at The California Museum in Sacramento; H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural & Art Museum in Covina; The Soho Gallery for Digital Art in NYC; The Art Works in Washington DC; The Rancho Sante Fe Art Gallery and recently at the National Art Center in Tokyo for the 19TH Japan International Art Exchange Exhibition and Competition. Joel's synesthesia is seeing colors as attributes.



Kevin and his painting

Kevin Hosseini, now residing in El Cajon, has been creating works of art since he was 9 years old. He was introduced to art by his therapist Colin Zimbleman through the UCSB Koegel Autism Center as a means of social communication. Kevin is influenced by many artists including Van Gogh, Gauguin, Hopper, and Bellows. He loves textured art with lots of movement. Kevin sold his first art painting at age 11 and has gone on to win many awards including a VSA emerging artist award. Kevin’s art has been on display in many museums and galleries including the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, the Museum of Modern Art of the Ukraine in Kiev, the California Museum in Sacramento, the Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural Museum in Covina and the Smithsonian S. Dillon Ripley Center in Washington D.C. Kevin’s art has been featured on book covers, CD labels, and in magazine and newspaper articles. Art helps Kevin bridge communication issues and allows him a creative outlet.


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