Wednesday, 11 September 2013

A roundup of creative Autistic people

Autism is often associated with maths or science skills, but really we have the same mix of talents as non-autistic people.  There certainly are people from all over the spectrum doing amazing things with numbers and computers and bunsen burners, but there are also Aspies and Autistic people in sport, in business, and the arts.  Let's meet a few from the artsier parts of the spectrum...

Update, December 15

Scottish singer Susan Boyle was diagnosed with Aspergers in 2012, having previously been diagnosed with acquired brain damage sustained during birth.  Here's where her professional career in music started, with her first audition for Britain's Got Talent:

Update, November 23

Annabelle Listic is an autistic artist, photographer, designer and blogger.  Her work includes things designed to be beautiful, calming, and/or useful to autistic people and visual thinkers - such as a series of buttons designed as communication aids, which are available through Etsy.

Update, September 21

Musician Torley is self-described as "a time-travelling, universe-crossing, autistic, cyberpunk monk", and has a website filled with music, art and writing.  Torley also has a Youtube channel full of tutes, discussions of work in progress, and fascinating pieces like this:

Norwegian musician Savant has worked in a wide range of musical style, particularly electronic genres.  Here's his track Siren, that came out earlier this year.

Autistic activist Alyssa from Yes, That Too is also an artist specialising in intricate geometric designs, which she sells through her online shop Because Patterns.

The late Finnish singer-songwriter Juice Leskinen was diagnosed with Aspergers in his 50s.  There's some information here, but the original Finnish doesn't fare terribly well in machine translation.  He was a prolific recording artist, and there's a Youtube playlist dedicated to him that's a hundred videos long.

Update, September 18

Danish singer/songwriter Maja Toudal has Aspergers, and as well as her musical career is working to educate people about the condition (link is in Danish.)  It was hard to choose just one of the songs on her Youtube page to include, but here is one of her original compositions, Troubled Waters:


Another singer-songwriter with Aspergers is Xolie Morra, frontwoman of The Strange Kind. I wasn't familiar with her before Mitch nominated her for this list, so I clicked on this song not really knowing that to expect.  It's bloody stunning:

US singer, guitarist, and former American Idol-ist James Durbin has Aspergers and Tourettes.  Here's a song from his album Memories of a Beautiful Disaster:

The Art of Autism is a program that connects creative autistic people of all disciplines - from visual artists to poets, dancers and comics - with clients and opportunities.  There's something like 350 artists on their books, and you can check them out here.

Another Aspie singer-songrwiter is UK rapper Example.  His diagnosis gets a name check in this track, Come Taste the Rainbow:

Historian and artist Steph Diorio's work can be seen in webcomics The Historians and Comedian Heaven, and she's also scriptwriter for Home By Now.  Steph has Aspergers, and on top of this hydra-headed creative activity is also a graduate student.

Japanese video game designer Satoshi Tajiri, whose creations include Pokemon, is another creative person with Aspergers.  One of his childhood special interests was insect collecting, and at one point his classmates would call him "Mr Bug".

Original list:

Aussie magician Tim Ellis has Aspergers, and performed an autobiographical show at 2009 Melbourne Magic Festival called Aspycadabra.

Singer/songwriter Ladyhawke is another person with Aspergers working on stage.  This is a live performance of Anxiety:

Scottish figurative painter Peter Howson has Aspergers.  You'll find some of his striking work in his online portfolio here.

Hikari Oe is a Japanese composer with multiple disabilities including autism.  This video features three of his tracks:


US hip hop-ist 50 Tyson has autism.  Days of the New frontman Travis Meeks has Aspergers, as does Craig Nicholls from The Vines and Adam Young from Owl City.

Songwriter, musician and later screenwriter and TV mover and shaker Raymond Thompson has Aspergers, and founded the Cloud 9 Childrens Foundation to help kids on the spectrum in New Zealand.

British actor, musician and screen writer Paddy Considine has Aspergers and Irlen Syndrome.

Courtney Love was diagnosed with 'mild autism' as a child. Dan Ackroyd describes himself as having mild Aspergers, as well as Tourettes for which he received therapy as a child.  Daryl Hannah also describes herself as having Aspergers, and attributes being 'blacklisted' in Hollywood to the interpersonal difficulties that come with the condition.

Have any more to nominate?  Let's keep this list going in the comments. *points downwards*