I love art. I like drawing the Bolte Bridge, the city, the Warrandyte Bridge and other buildings. I am good at art. When I draw or paint I am free and I can be wise and clever.
Balancing On the Edge of Life.
When Scott was three, before we actually knew he had a disorder, we appreciated he had great drawing skills. Our little boy appeared to be unique, with the ability to draw with great perspective, proportion and an amazing sense of colour. After many confused diagnoses, he was finally tagged with Autism. At 22 he was diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome. Little did we know his rare and wonderful talent would be the catalyst for a full and fruitful life? By four, Scott was showing very strong autistic behavior, running on his toes, dreadful eating habits and a stubborn disposition which challenged everybody’s day. Lots of professionals gave us hope, but many gave us a sad prognosis for Scott’s future. It was recommended we arrange full time accommodation as he would get too difficult to cope with. But Scott had magic moments when we would get a glimpse into his world though his art. The shame is we spent so much valuable time trying to make him fit into our world and our rules, we didn’t see what his real potential was, or the natural tools he had to survive in both worlds.
Art was Scott’s way into his community. As a family we made a decision to take Scott out of all disability programs and introduce him to his own community. We believed if Scott could contribute, he would be accepted for his unusual behavior. We wanted the community and our friends to be part of Scott’s safety net for a good life, opening a future to a normal, independent life style with more possibilities.The first thing to do was to hold an art exhibition in the community and invite all of the business owners, neighbours, our friends and Scotts friends. The next thing was to have Scott involved in all the aspects of the exhibition from finishing his art pieces to helping with the mounting and framing, delivering the invitations and even writing his own opening speech to thank everybody for coming. His first exhibition was very successful and people who didn’t understand Scott or appreciate his talent came and many had a moist eye, when he expressed in his own way, how happy he was that they had all come to enjoy his art. Since then, Scott has had 10 exhibitions including one in New Zealand. Within 15 minutes of opening the exhibitions 80% of the work is sold. Some very renowned collectors have admired and purchased his work and have expressed great interest in following his career as an artist. Last year he attended two life drawing programs and produced some extraordinary drawings.
By accepting Scott’s disorders and embracing his skills he has been delivered back to the community with positive encouragement.
Scott is still very challenged, but he is not alone any more, now a whole community shares his journey. People know him and say hello in the street, and watch out for him. He has respect and the opportunity to make decisions no matter how small about what he wants. The community taught him more than we could; he’s had to learn to survive under the communities rules if he wanted to be part of it. I’m so proud of him when I go into a shop or the local pub and people ask “where’s Scott?” and “when is his next exhibition, I don’t want to miss it, is my name on the list?” I believe we all went out and learnt by ourselves how to live in our communities, we were given the chance to make mistakes and learnt what is acceptable and how to function appropriately to succeed. I believe Scott has had that chance, to make mistakes and learn how to share with other people. The rewards far outweigh his art and his disability. Ask for help and allow people to give and share. Next year Scott will be holding his 11th exhibition and it will be showing a new, older, more mature artist who keeps evolving. Scott keeps us all excited as we see him grow and change, he surrounds himself with people who are motivated and he drives them to be free, he inspires them to use their imagine and visualize the future.
Cheryle Nye (Scott’s mum)