Sam Houston State University took part in Autism Awareness Month through the lecture and art gallery viewing of a high-functioning Autistic artist on April 4.
Autistic Eco-artist Grant Manier was diagnosed early on in his life and showed Autistic tendencies through an obsessive compulsive disorder with a need for his toys to be organized by color and placed into lines.
Manier is high-functioning autistic, or Asperger’s Syndrome, meaning he has an IQ greater than 70 and is cognitively higher functioning than others with autism.
Manier’s mother works as his manager and schedules his lectures, tours and his product lines.
“Even when my mom was asked to stop my obsession, she had a vision,” Manier said. “Could I do it now without her? No way. At least not the manager side, I’m just the artist.”
Manier didn’t begin his art with a business in mind but with a way to express himself when words couldn’t suffice.
“This started as a homeschool art project and people were in awe of my work,” Manier said. “My mom listened to them and to me. Together she and I created this little business called ‘Grant’s Eco Art’.”
Manier does not use paint when he creates his works. He uses recycled materials that are typically donated to him, his favorite to use are old puzzle pieces.
Since Manier does not use paint, he peels the colors off of the puzzle pieces and glues them onto his canvases.
“I am the only known artist in the world to do this,” Manier said. “Thousands of puzzles are thrown away because one piece is missing. If you don’t recycle them, call me and I will take them off your hands.”
Manier is an award-winning Eco-artist as he has been recognized by the Texas State Senate, Congressional Art Winner for the 8 district of Texas, Waste Management Overall Eco-Art competition winner and numerous others.
Along with his personal achievements, Manier’s goal is to raise awareness of environmental responsibility. Through his speeches and purchase of his works, he has raised over $100,000 for Autism, Down Syndrome, Tourette’s Syndrome and specialty summer camps for children with special needs.
Manier credits his success to his mother and those who support the arts.
“Thousands of people made this possible because they see the future for special talents awareness,” Manier said. “For five years, we packed our little SUV, going from little shows to big shows, creating a buzz about Eco-Art and special talent.”
Manier and his mother originally only sold his original works but as his popularity grew, they decided to only sell prints of the originals. The duo has now expanded to 15 different original collections that include calendars, books and nightlights along with his canvases.
“My future is possible because of so many who believed in my mother and in me,” Manier said. “We are so grateful.”
To find out more about Autism, visit https://www.autismspeaks.org/ .