Art is in the Eye of the Creator

Art is in the Eye of the Creator

It’s not every day that you hear the phrase “trash art” or ask someone if you can have their empty cereal boxes and aluminum cans…unless you’re Michael Canales.

Michael is many things, though if you ask him, he probably won’t give you much of an answer. He’s a fan of video games; he’s a map-maker, often drawing maps of cities, real or imagined; he’s a brother, an uncle, a son and a friend; he’s an artist and a visionary, taking other people’s trash and making something imaginative and unique. Michael, like everyone we serve, is so much more than his diagnosis.

The first thing you might notice about Michael is that he’s shy. He has difficulty making eye contact, especially with new people, and he’s quiet, often answering questions in monosyllabic responses. But it doesn’t take long to notice that he’s incredibly curious. If Michael finds something that interests him, he’ll take it apart, learn how it works and then put it back together. This isn’t always successful, though, and you’ll often find Michael visiting the IT office looking for help fixing his electronics. Michael loves to learn and he loves to build things. He especially enjoys making masks and statues of wolves and other animals, often using found or recycled materials like cardboard or plastic water bottles for his projects. Many of these projects are inspired by fictional characters from games and movies.

Michael might tell you that he prefers working on his art projects to spending time with people. He has a hard time relating to others, even his peers, and can have an even harder time explaining this in social situations. Imagine that you found yourself trapped in a small room with a stranger who won’t stop talking to you, and you were unable to speak or ask them to give you space. Would it be frustrating? Overwhelming? Maybe even scary at times?

How would you cope with those emotions?

For Michael, it can be very difficult to answer that question. Coping can be hard, so he often turns to his art to avoid those scary situations that make him uncomfortable. Creativity is an emotional outlet for Michael, and he is REALLY creative!

Join us for our Second Annual Silver Cup Celebration on April 25th to support artists like Michael and to see some of his most interesting creations or even purchase one of his masks. Tickets are available online.

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