Title: Altavista High School student/Sketch Artist | Age: 17
Editor’s Note: Deon Calloway has autism and sometimes needs assistance communicating. His teacher and mentor, Jessica Ward, helped him answer the following questions. They were edited only to improve clarity and not take away from Deon’s voice.
Pencil sketches seem to be your niche. Why do you like those types of sketches?
I like to use pencil, because it makes me happy. Pencils are cool because [they make]shading, dark, light, and more.
How do you begin your sketches? Do you have a plan or do you just start drawing?
Most of time I look at the pictures. I use photos from my camera. I do assignments from my art teacher.
What types of things really inspire you to start sketching?
Amazing pictures of buildings or cars. I love buildings like Avoca in my town.
Tell me about a few of your favorite pieces you’ve created so far and why you are proud of them.
[My] favorite drawings are motorcycles. I [am]proud of it, and they are fantastic. I get to see Harleys in Lynchburg at Harley-Davidson too when I show my art there.
You’ve taken your masterpieces out to many different art shows. How does it feel to have people want to buy what you create?
The people want to buy my art, because it is amazing. I feel proud and happy when people want my art. I like to go to my bank account and make deposits. I have great Facebook fans too. I have 1300 likes. The likes make me happy. People tell me they love my art.
What kind of encouragement or feedback do you get from your fellow classmates?
My friends think my art is beautiful. My classmates are my fans too because they know I work hard [on]my art.
How have your teachers played a role in your talent through the years?
My teachers [have]seen me working hard They know I am great artist. Ms. Ward helps me talk to my fans and [takes me]to A.C. Moore and art shows and do the TV interviews. My old teacher Mrs. Gail helps me too.
What kind of message do you want to send to the public about the disorder?
Autism means that some people think I am weird, but I am not weird—I am just Deon.
Are there any other types of art you want to learn?
Oh yes I do. I [learned]painting and pastels in my art class, and at Michael’s I go to classes, and I learn on YouTube.
What’s next for you in your journey?
My goal is to save more gold [Note: this is what Deon calls his money]. I like to make deposits and spend. I like to do more art shows and learn good talking to my fans. I am going to practice new types of art. Some will be big, and some will be small. I like it when people like my art; I do not like to erase and change my art. I only like to make it perfect to me.
Any closing thoughts?
Like my Facebook page. I like people send[ing]me pictures to draw for them.