“It is important to me that my art makes people smile. That makes me smile. Another goal for me is to help children with autism all over the world.”
Joel is particularly proud that one of his paintings raised enough money for a little boy in China to attend an autism school for six months. In another project, he designed t-shirts for a group of people working with children in an orphanage in Nigeria. These are the kinds of things that give Joel deep satisfaction.
Acrylic is Joel’s choice of painting medium, though he also enjoys graphic arts. He is currently studying animation and graphic motion design in college. His art has been published in several books, including the recently released Artism: The Art of Autism, by Debbie Hosseini, and in the documentary film, ARTS: A Film About Possibilities, Disabilities and the Arts, by Keri Bowers. Among his awards and honors, he received the ANCA Awards, Inaugural International Award for Community Achievement from Naturally Autistic in British Columbia, Canada, and a Certificate of Recognition from the California Senate Senate.
Since 2003, Joel has had the opportunity to realize his goal of helping people with autism, as well as those who love and care for them, through the support of The Autism Tree Project Foundation. With the help of the foundation, Joel has spoken to thousands of people, from elementary school kids to high school and university students, and even large corporations. He has also appeared on many news and radio stations, and shared the stage with celebrities who support autism awareness.
Characteristic of his sweet spirit and his desire to help others, Joel says: