Documentary on Artist and Autism

Alex Masket may not have the gift of language, but his art speaks volumes. A severely autistic young adult, Masket’s art has appeared in national publications, and is in corporate, museum, and private collections. The United Nations Postal Administration chose Masket’s composition, “Kinetic Blue,” as the cachet for the First Day Covers of its Autism Awareness commemorative stamp series. Secretary General  Ban Ki-Moon dedicated the series last April at the United Nations, with Masket and his family in attendance.

Alex MasketCredit: Dennis Connors Photography

Masket first displayed his sophisticated sense of color and an interest in letters and numbers as a toddler; later using Legos, stickers, and tape to produce increasingly expressive and evocative works. His art is a visual representation of an internal world, not an observed one, and his technique involves throwing his whole body into his creations, using a highly kinetic process akin to drumming.

Masket’s website offers a sampling of styles, and also showcases Breaking Boundaries, an award-winning short documentary made by Dennis Connors and featuring an original jazz score by Diane Moser. Screened last year at film festivals throughout the country, and winner of the CINE Golden Eagle Film and Video Competition for short documentary, critics have called it “gripping and insightful.”

“At first, I thought I might tackle the difficulty an autistic adult faces in society, but Alex’s technique and talent were such strong elements for a film,” says Connors, a videographer and photographer. Masket’s mom, Elaine Masket, an attorney and advocate for autism awareness, adds: “I don’t think of my son as an autistic artist, but rather an artist who happens to be autistic.”

For more information on autism, visit Dana’s BrainWeb and read three recent Dana stories: “Autism: The Pervasive Developmental Disorder,” “Seeking the Earliest Signs of Autism,” and “Autism: Progress and Prospects.”

–Bill Glovin

One response

  1. Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that effects social and communication skills. Art can be an overlooked part of an autistic education curriculum, but art activities allow kids with autism to exercise creativity skills, learn how to conceptualize their view of the world in symbols and pictures and improve motor skills.

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