Max’s Art Evolution
by Agent Janie (Natash’s Mom)
Now, I’m not a relative of Max, nor am I trained in anything that qualifies me as an expert in child development – other than a combination of experience, observation, and education. I’ve actually only known Max for about six months, but what I’ve witnessed of his personal growth and development as related to social skills, empathy, and creativity, is astonishing. Did I mention I have three kiddos in my family who have ASD?
Max recently won a contest for a custom label on the local line of Jones Sodas to be made for the Smith Tower in Seattle. Max’s winning drawing was up against professional photographers’ artistic captures and, in the end, he was co-winner with one such professional. The major wins for Max, however, are not known by this accomplishment alone.
As Max’s Mom, McNall, puts it, “Art is not one of Max’s verticals.” This means that art is not something that captures Max’s obsessive attention in part, as it is with Neural-Typical (NT) kids like myself at his age, because he does not consider himself to have “it” – that natural talent that makes every stroke a success to be celebrated. Art is something he is working to become more skilled in like we all need to do with the things that we find more challenging, but that we are interested in, intrigued by, and fascinated with. Max has to work on his art…and McNall created a space for him to feel safe to try, practice, and “fail” in order to ultimately succeed…in pleasing himself with his art.
Six months ago, Max was not interested in having his original art included in the Magic Friendships Series books that he and his Mom were creating. He was fully a collaborator of the designs, content, and color for the books, but he did not want anything he had made with his own to be put into print…yet. Here we are, a mere six months later, and he not only has come to a place of great detail and joy in drawing – mostly cities because he loves skyscrapers and architecture, but he was willing and excited to have his art “out there” for complete strangers to see and even to vote on!
Wow. You may want to read some of that again to truly appreciate the trajectory that he has been on and extrapolate out what kind of personal development that would equate to for you as I have done for me and I am floored by the work Max has done to achieve this level of personal growth. Go ahead, read it again.
So, the image voted upon that will be on the Smith Tower’s Jones Soda label looks like this:
However, that is only a sliver of the full Seattle Skyline drawing that Max originally created:
Here is a comparison mock-up that I created so that you can appreciate the scope and detail of his drawing – the only thing I didn’t manage to includ in the comparison photo are the cranes to the right of Max’s Smith Tower, but know that his rendition is completely accurate (minus the location and scale of Mt. Rainier, but it’s so stunning that this is always how it looks in our minds’ eyes):