Transformational art installation of autistic artist at behavioral services firm

Wen of Zen art

 The Art of Autism encourages businesses, especially those that serve autistic people, to display the art work of autistic artists on their walls. The Art of Autism is happy to facilitate this process. Send queries to theartofautism@gmail.com

By Debra Muzikar

In June The Art of Autism was contacted by Justin Kyriannis, owner of Achievable Behavioral Strategies in Las Vegas. Justin had viewed art on the Art of Autism’s website and was struck by artist Wen of Zen’s art. Wendi participated in the Art of Autism’s Created on Ipad project. He asked The Art of Autism nonprofit to help facilitate an art installation of 23 giclee reproductions on the walls of his office, where many autistic children and their parents receive services.

Wendi’s art is about self-discovery, autism and the therapeutic process. We at the Art of Autism love that Justin realizes the authenticity and value of using work of an autistic artist to decorate his office. This was one of two installations that the Art of Autism facilitated in June. The other one was at San Diego State University’s Center for Autism (view the installation here).

Wendi worked with The Art of Autism to create correct sizes and orientation of her art for display on the walls. She also wrote descriptions for each of her pieces, which Justin displayed with the art.

Wen of Zen Sensory Overload Blue
Wen of Zen Sensory Overload Blue

Artist statement: “Exploring new places can bring me anxiety.”

Wen of Zen Sensory Overload Red
Wen of Zen Sensory Overload Red

Artist statement: “Exploring new places can bring me joy.”

Wendi says, “Most of my work is “Experimental Abstract” (I came up with that term because I had no other way to describe it as I use photography, digital art, and hand drawings all combined.) Because of that, it can usually be turned around. In fact, I do not sign most of my work because of that. I want to have it feeling like it is the right direction no matter how it hangs up. Also, the emotion changes as it is rotated. This is on purpose because I hang some of my work and I will get an urge to look at it from a different angle . . . so I go turn it around. It is like getting 4 different works of art on 1 canvas.”

Wen of Zen Autism Talking
Wen of Zen Autism Talking

Artist statement: “Autism is not a disease. It’s a difference. My ribbon celebrates these differences by including words I associate with who I am.”

Justin writes “I must say everything looks amazing. I don’t think the pictures I took do her work justice – it looks 100X better in person. All our staff LOVE her artwork. People are absolutely impressed, including the handymen team hanging them up! I especially love the descriptions and bio that Wendi created. She’s truly gifted.”

Wen of Zen Transformation
Wen of Zen Transformation

Artist statement: “Looking at life through my autistic eyes. The entire world feels like this to me. Strong. Powerful. Sometimes overwhelming. Beautiful.”

Justin emailed pictures of Wendi’s art displayed.

Wen of Zen's art
Art work on display where children receive autism services
Wen of Zen Art Fishes
Wen’s art was even displayed in the bathrooms.

Wendi states “In elementary school I was punished for drawing a human heart in science class based on the picture in the book. My teacher punished me because she swore I somehow traced it. I had not. She told me I was not an artist and the only way it came out like it did was for me to cheat. After that, I was fearful of showing anyone my artwork, except my parents. So all of this is transformative for me in a way I can’t explain. It rescues my soul to have my art be a pleasure to others. It feels like I am finally able to share my spirit with the world without fear of being called a cheat and a liar. Every layer in my art is either an image from a photo I personally took, or a drawing I made by hand. I do use apps to experiment with the images and layer them. But the transformation process is all my personal decisions and they mean something to me on an emotional level. So I do not cheat or copy or borrow the work of anyone else. The closest I may come is sometimes incorporating an image from Google Street view when I am on the journeys I take at night sometimes to all those wonderful places around the world. I never use a photo someone took though. It just may be a certain screenshot from my walking street level as if I were standing there. And with that, I still only use it as an inspiration for a new layer. I do not use the actual image in the work.”

Wendi says the money received will help pay for her therapy sessions.

*** The Art of Autism encourages businesses, especially those that serve autistic people, to display the art work of autistic artists on their walls. The Art of Autism is happy to facilitate this process. Send queries to theartofautism@gmail.com

Header image: Wen of Zen “Joy” Artist statement: “Recall the simple things and you will always find joy.”

1 Comment

  • The art is beautiful. Every artist has a right to display and or use their art to support anything they want, as long as it is legal. But I am concerned that the link to the “behavioural” services is for ABA, a controversial practice intended to suppress autism, and of which is based on animal experimentation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *