Feature Issue on Careers in The Arts for People with Intellectual, Developmental, and Other Disabilities
My Arts Career: AJ Kiel
AJ Kiel, recognized as a VSA Emerging Young Artist by the Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability Program, lives with autism. He aspires to be a full-time artist, often collaborates with a mentor and is represented by Access Gallery.
I make art that is kind of like my life, which is often energized and chaotic, rarely linear, and never still. I convey my life through my art, my memories, my experiences, and ultimately my dreams. I love the idea of movement and systems, and have a passion for trains, trucks, and busses. I live and create in an urban environment and consider myself an urban explorer. Traffic lights, trucks, buildings, and busy streets all appear in my art, alongside robots and ramen. I see the world as connected through all of these things that move - the systems, cargo, people, packages, trains, trucks, and buses, and all of these interests influence my work. (As told to Damon McLeese, Access Gallery).
Damon McLeese Runs VSA Colorado and Access Gallery | Damon McLeese, who worked with AJ Kiel to develop his artist statement, shares more about Access Gallery in this video.