Tom is an exception artist. This should be the very first thing we say. For many reasons, we needn't really say any more. His artwork alone will knock your socks off. But, as is so often the case, there is so much more to Tom's story, if you have the time to listen.
Tom is autistic, dyspraxic, dyslexic, has a speech disorder and sensory processing issues. Just a few labels then! But, I'm sure you get the gist; things have not always be plain sailing. However, despite each of these challenges, Tom's love of art has still won out. He has an eye for the unusual and enjoys sharing how he sees the world with others, through his paintings. Tom recognises that he sees the worldly slightly differently to others.
My paintings are a way of showing beautiful or quirky things, or both, that I see as I move around our shared world.
Tom has a bold and vivid style. He works with acrylics to capture the feel of the wind and the warmth of the sun as it falls across delicate crops and open fields. This year one of Tom's paintings was shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. This was an enormous boost to Tom's confidence.
Painting makes me really happy, and the whole business of being an artist, helping at exhibitions, being an expert and able to talk to other artists as an equal gives me a lot of confidence and makes me realise how much I do know.
Many of Tom's friends are also autistic. They don't talk about autism as a disability, possibly because of the negative stereotypes surrounding the term, but they provide vital support and understanding to each other when they are faced with challenging situations, like looking for jobs or making plans for the future.
The world is not always very kind to us and some [of my friends] are struggling with mental health.
We just want Tom to know that we are really rooting for him. Being shortlisted for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition may just be the beginning, we're certain great things are yet to come for this inspirational artist. Watch this space!