Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Art as Language

Posted By on Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Teachers noticed Joey Evangelisti’s incredible artistic skill when he was just a young boy. Though unable to communicate verbally — Joey is autistic — he uses visual art to express a variety of experiences and fascinations. His talent is what is known as a “splinter skill”— a remarkable capacity or genius in a certain domain, primarily associated with Autism.

Joey Evangelisti, Iron Horse Gold Key
  • Joey Evangelisti, Iron Horse Gold Key

While in school at Richland Elementary, Joey drew a mural of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which was submitted and put on display at the Macy’s in New York and later at the Nashville Metropolitan Airport. “One of the things that was interesting, and the Macy’s people noticed,” says Joe Evangelisti, Joey’s father, “is when he did a whole rendition of the parade from beginning to end, he included a lot of details that normally someone would not notice. In fact, the people at Macy’s said that the only people who would notice [these things] would be the people who produced the parade. He sees all that.”
Joey Evangelisti, Train Fused
  • Joey Evangelisti, Train Fused

Joey Evangelisti, Trolley
  • Joey Evangelisti, Trolley

Joey Evangelisti, Trains Lined Up
  • Joey Evangelisti, Trains Lined Up

Joey is 20 years old now, and still producing his exquisitely detailed drawings and paintings. “He’s very prolific,” says his father. “What takes others a long time to do, he seems to be able to crank it out."

Joey Evangelisti, Bird Eats Fish
  • Joey Evangelisti, Bird Eats Fish

Joey benefits from the tutelage of various Memphis City Schools teachers, including AP Art teacher, Charles Berlin at White Station and Kenneth Harris at Kingsbury. Although the school schedule has been an important anchor for Joey, this will be gone in two years, when he surpasses the maximum age of enrollment.
Joey Evangelisti, Black and White Bird Pattern
  • Joey Evangelisti, Black and White Bird Pattern

“One of the things that we're very hopeful for is that this will not only be something that he does for fun, but has vocational opportunities as well," says Joey's father. "That's what you hope for any child, but especially for a child with a disability.”

Joey’s work will be on display at Frame Corner, starting tomorrow, Thursday, July 22, and ending August 11. There will be an opening reception from 5:30 to 7:30 on Thursday, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Joey’s art will go to the Memphis Chapter of the Autism Society of America.


Frame Corner, Inc., Eastgate Shopping Center, 5056 Park Avenue, 682-9901, framecornermemphis.com

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