Jerry Montoya’s son was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. As an artist, he began working and creating art to help others learn and understand autism.

Every April during Autism Awareness Month, Montoya asks families to send pictures of their loved ones on the autism spectrum. He asks that the pictures that they send capture more than just their loved ones face, perhaps including something that they love. Montoya began the project with a drawing of his son, then decided that he wanted to create similar portraits for others.

Montoya said he wanted to give back to the community that he became a part of. Each day of Autism Awareness Month, Montoya draws a portrait of a picture he has gotten from another family. The theme he had for the projects first year was puzzle piece, which he incorporated in each portrait. The theme of his project this year was given to him from someone who told him that the from a saying that “the grass is green and the sky is blue.”

Montoya makes sure no portrait looks like the others by using different mediums such as pastel, water color, pencil, etc. to capture the essence of the person he is drawing. Montoya stated that he wants people “to be more aware” and that people “are not their diagnosis, they’re people.” Montoy hopes that his portraits show the joy in other people’s lives. He is working and thinking about next years theme. The portraits are free of charge, he just asks that people cover the shipping costs and a digital and hard copy is included. For more information on his project or to submit a picture for next years project you can contact Jerry Montoya at [email protected]

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