Filipino-Canadian Artist with Autism J.A. Tan Holds Exhibit in ArtistSpace Ayala Museum

This week until next, drop by Ayala Museum's ArtistSpace to view paintings by a special Filipino artist with autism.  J.A. Tan, who was born in Manila but now lives in Canada, graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the prestigious Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, Canada. Since then, he has joined shows in Canada, the U.S. and even the United Kingdom.

His last exhibit in Manila called "Piece by Piece ... A Selection of My Personal Best"was also held at the ArtistSpace. This year, he is once again having a one-man show entitled "On and On ... Step by Step ..." that runs from August 21 to September 3.

Last year, J.A. had the honor of having one of his paintings featured on a United Nation's stamp. "Victory" was one of the 8 pieces chosen from over 200 worldwide submissions and was issued as a UN stamp on April 2, 2012.

Just this past July, J.A. was at the opening of the 13th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Special Education as the keynote speaker. The event was held at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. J.A., who describes himself as an artist with autism, enjoys sharing his personal story about overcoming challenges and pursuing his passion for art.

"I have come to the realization that I have always used art as a way of helping myself bring out my thoughts, feelings, and ideas," he shared. "I consider it an integral part of my existence as each work is a personal journey of myself with myself, and myself with the world, bringing a feeling of peace and happiness since things become clearer to me through the images and visual pictures before me."

When asked what inspires and directs his art, J.A. revealed that he works on his paintings the same way he works at life. "I paint from small images and ideas and build up to a unified whole. As in my life, I learn in small steps and take in as much details and information as I can," the young man admitted. "I then put these all together into a whole piece that makes it possible for me to integrate myself into the world that everyone else perceives." 

"I live and work in this same world; but it is seen in a different perspective by me and my autistic mind,” he acknowledged. I am very happy for him and salutes his parents for fully supporting their son's passion. Congratulations J.A. and may you paint more pictures to delight art enthusiasts all over the world! 

For more information please visit and To see more photos taken during my visit to ArtistSpace, please view this Facebook album

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