For many people diagnosed with autism, communicating through speech and social interaction can be challenging. As a way to express herself, 5-year-old Iris Grace began painting last year. She’s already garnered praise across the globe for her incredibly beautiful works of art. The young artist, who lives in the UK with her parents and her cat Thula, creates gorgeous paintings filled with dreamy colors and fascinating textures. The soothing works, which were often inspired by nature, have been compared to Monet’s Impressionist paintings. According to Iris’s mother, Arabella Carter-Johnson, her daughter has an incredible concentration span of about two hours whenever she paints. Carter-Johnson says, “I make up some cups of very watery paints, she chooses which one she would like to use and gets me to make more when she needs it and she mixes her own colours from mug to mug. Her autism has created a style of painting which I have never seen in a child of her age, she has an understanding of colours and how they interact with each other.”
Not only does painting lift Iris’s mood and help her engage with the world around her, but it also helps raise awareness of autism. It’s a condition that currently affects around 100,000 children in the UK alone. “When you are a parent or a teacher of a child with autism and you are trying to interact with them you are constantly looking for ways to find that key that will allow you into their world,” says Iris’s mom. “For me seeing Iris’ love of painting was just that, a precious key.”
UPDATE: We’re very excited to announce that Iris’s story and some of her gifted paintings are featured in our new book For Love. Published by Chronicle Books, the official release date is March 15, 2016. The book is currently available to pre-order at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Indie Bound.
Iris Grace and her parents hope her story will raise awareness about autism.
The 5-year-old’s cat Thula often keeps her company while she paints.
Thanks for the tip, Mindy!