Saturday, February 21, 2015

17-year-old with autism creates exceptional art

Photo of Dominic painting

Dominic painting

Autism doesn’t define Dominic, but it does influence how he approaches art. Dominic was born with a strong desire for structure, order, balance and math. This is common among children and adults with autism, and in Dominic’s case, it helps shape his artwork and style.

His process is straightforward, but calculated. Dominic starts with an original image that he admires. Then, he sketches it in pencil, and breaks the image down into “pixelated” color spaces. These color spaces become the “puzzle shapes” that he fills in with color. Finally, using a paint-by-numbers approach, Dominic fills in his sketch with acrylics.

"For Dominic, painting has been natural since an early age. The way he holds a brush and combines colors is balanced, orderly and creative. And, his evolution is remarkable, too. He started with computer graphics, then markers, and now uses paint-by-numbers to create original acrylic compositions,” says Susan Cicconi, his mother who is also a local artist.

Even though Dominic is mostly non-verbal with scripted language, he can easily communicate his love for art. Dominic often makes remarks, like, “That’s a beautiful purple-blue.” He also gives creative names to paints, including “blueberry gray blue,” “pink like peppermint pink,” and “sweet potato orange.”

Susan sees Dominic’s creativity and passion for art on a day-to-day basis — and she is so proud of her son. “I have nurtured his talent along the way, but it has always come from Dominic’s desire to challenge himself and explore shapes, compositions and colors in his own geometric, abstract expression.”

To learn more about Dominic’s artwork and to see examples of other pieces, go to or visit the Lurie Center’s clinic location.

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