For the person with autism, there are known limitations. However, when one takes a closer look, there is a discovery of uniquely special talents.
Twenty-year old James Frye is on the low spectrum of autism and his is a synesthetes – an artist who hears in color. As a visual artist, he creates wild abstract images that are converted to art.
“When James was a junior in high school, he was in special classes and they put him in art,” James’ mother Wendy explained to Dope Magazine. “He brought home a piece in which he had embedded eleven different faces within this fractal Kandinsky-style watercolor. I was like, ‘holy crap!’
“After taking numerous art classes, he ended up really liking a certain type. He uses a Bamboo, an electric sketchpad. He does electronic sketches by hand that we then transfer onto canvas.”
James, who resides in Washington, has the freedom to use cannabis products (and crank some loud tunes), which inspires him to create phenomenal psychedelic works of art. The movement in the autism community is fighting to legalize cannabis for all children to use with seizure disorders, which are very common in autism. The plant, especially when converted to CBD oil, eases seizures and also frees the mind.
“We are very active in the movement and yes, James is an adult,” Wendy said. “He is moderately autistic and when he wants to smoke – he does. He recently took a break from smoking cannabis, he is currently enjoying CBD body products.”
James spoke with Dope about his passion, which first developed by viewing an extensive album collection of his father. In design and appearance, he appreciates the varieties of the 70s, especially the style of The Beatles. James now has his own growing collection of vinyl.
“My husband has been collecting for about 40 years,” explained Wendy. “He takes James and his younger brother to record stores. They all go together. It’s become a hobby.
“I listen to all kinds of music, especially the old and analog music,” James told Dope, describing the sounds that inspire him. His absolute favorite tracks are of the electronic genre and without words.
“He rocks out to his music all day,” Wendy explained. “I’m sure our neighbors love it that we are blasting Led Zeppelin at eight in the morning! He and his work are like a throwback from the 60s and 70s.”
For James, drawing to music, evokes a feeling of “free roaming in space.” It inspires James to create wondrous pieces of art. Creations that include the names, “Blue Meanies Brains,“ and “Interview of an Acid Artist.” As a connoisseur, James admires the works of Kandinsky, Picasso, Charlie Harper, Jackson Pollock and Keith Haring.
James’ art was discovered and selected by the nonprofit, We Are Lions and the participating band My Morning Jacket to create a promotional poster reinterpretation of the band’s album Waterfall. We Are Lions showcases the work of artists with special needs.
The money from the poster sales is now funding another hobby of James – collecting moog analog synthesizer albums from around the world.
Wendy is going to approach music and arts festivals to feature James’ paintings. Although she is unsure of why James has put a break on toking, she always lets him know it’s available and suggests he “smokes a bowl and chills.” Sometimes, that is truly the answer for all of us.
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