17 year old Alexander Fox-Robinson from Pembroke School, Brecon was the overall winner in the 2D category in last year’s CREATE! Art For Autism competition, with his piece Visage Pica. Speaking about his work, Alexander said that his main inspiration for the artwork was: “The way an old man was captured roughly with spaced mark marking.” Throughout the competition and afterwards Alexander has felt the benefit of expressing and presenting his creativity.
CREATE!, now in its fourth great year, is a national art competition that last year attracted over 800 entries from young people from schools and colleges across the UK aged between 11 and 25 with an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC). The winners across five categories including 2D Art, 3D Art, Digital Photography, Digital Animation, and Poetry each received a digital tablet and a CREATE! artbox for their school or organization.
The aims of CREATE! Are to:
Inspire youngsters with an ASC to express themselves through different forms of art
Celebrate the special abilities of young people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome
Educate all of us on how those with autism see and interpret the world around them
Alexander has entered the competition for three consecutive years and has grown in confidence over this time, as his mother Nicole says of his experience of the competition: “At the event in the first year he was despondent and convinced that he wouldn’t win, that is his Asperger’s response as result of anxiety. We went to the launch in London for the second year, and although this meant going out and being amongst people, he did it and actually spoke with people who were interested in his painting.” As a result of helping Alexander to portray his creativity CREATE! has been able to educate the wider public about his talent, dispelling some of the myths that surround autism, all the while building his confidence.
As well as enhancing his confidence entering CREATE! Art For Autism has also helped Alexander’s creative career flourish, as his mother Nicole has said: “Winning the first prize in his category has boosted his confidence. It also helped to put his name out there. He has been in the local paper twice because of CREATE!, went to London to attend the event twice and has had several solo exhibitions in our area.” Author and Write to Freedom Founder Caspar Walsh has commissioned Alexander to illustrate the book “Tribe Warrior,” a novel that uses Britain’s dark past to explore the impact of absent, imprisoned fathers on children and UK society.
British and Irish Lions Captain Sam Warburton is also supportive of the positive impact that CREATE! Art For Autism has, he believes that: “This competition is a fantastic way for autistic youngsters to express themselves, and to show how creative they can be. It’s also great that the competition is driven from Wales.”
Participants who meet the criteria can enter the competition or get further information from www.createartforautism.com, or can write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Past winners and their work can also be viewed on the createartforautism.co.uk website.