I am an artist with Autism

Posted on Oct 13, 2008 in Autism, Chronic Disease

Ben Carroll, 14, was born in Bulgaria in July 1994 and was placed in an orphanage. When he was 18 months old, Manchester residents Ed and Laura-Lee Carroll adopted him. He attends the Intensive Education Academy in West Hartford.

I love to paint animals. I never paint people. I never paint buildings, trees and flowers. I only like to paint animals because I’m a big animal lover.

The only animals I don’t like to paint are the scary animals that eat other animals. I just like to paint the friendlier animals.

When I was little, I used to look at animals books. I used to get all afraid and upset at the animals that eat the other animals. Mom said, “Put the book away till later.”

I love to paint elephants. I painted a giraffe. When I paint, I always draw lightly and gentle. … I do a very, very beautiful job.

I did one colored-pencil picture, which was an elephant, which was called, “Beautiful Elephant.” He was standing proud and tall because he was going to look out for enemies and danger, like if someone was going to attack him or eat him up.

When Mom sees a picture, she says, “Ahh, is that beautiful.” And my lips go like this [he smiles]. I’m so proud of myself.

This picture is called “Lion in Africa.” This picture that I did took about three weeks. My favorite part of this is it’s a lion in the grass. It’s a friendly lion, not a scary one. People love this painting.

It’s friendly, not scary, not with the teeth gleaming.

See a video slide show about Ben Carroll at www.courant.com/iam