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A Year in Review: Autistic Ian x Artisan Coffee Co.

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A Year in Review: Autistic Ian x Artisan Coffee Co.

For World Autism Acceptance Week, we caught up with the talented artist and  Artisan collaborator Autistic Ian.

Following the whirlwind success of last year's Autistic Ian x Artisan Coffee Co. collaboration, we chatted all things art and autism with the artist known affectionately as Autistic Ian...

How has life been both personally, and professionally since we last caught up? 

It's been a whirlwind. I still pinch myself that I'm only just 2 years into this art journey and I've created art for some amazing people, and famous chefs and also gained a huge audience in Australia. It's all incredible but all so unreal in my head.


What were your most memorable moments from last year's Autistic Ian x Artisan Coffee Co. collaboration?

So many! Firstly, when it all began and presented my creativity to Ashley Palmer-Watts and how his face lit up, so knew I'd got it right. Then, when I saw each piece launch alongside its own coffee and the following, I gained from that. Also having my designs on mugs, posters, coffee bags... And obviously, the show at Nobu – what a place, what an incredible opportunity. Thank you dearly to Ashley and Artisan.



How did the collaboration impact your creative process and artistic vision?

I'd never interpreted my art as being commercially focused, but after Ashley's coffee tasting where he explained each coffee blend and flavour profile, it was like the best brief I'd ever had. With that level of depth and detail, I was so excited to start bringing it to life – the collaboration just felt so natural.


Can you describe your practice in five words (or less!)



Is there anyone, or anything, that inspires your distinct artistic style?

From an autistic child through to an autistic adult, I absorbed everything, and I mean everything. When I had my mental breakdown many years ago, upon recovery, my brain reverted to a point of 'simpler times'. My art is a reflection of that. The colours, shapes, and ideas are all born of that time. And I don't pigeonhole myself to any one style. I just create beautiful things with paper. That's me.



In what ways do you feel your art reflects your experiences as someone with autism?

You could put every piece of my art on the wall in succession and you'd see my autism through the two years. Good days, dark days, overthinking days... Without the expression through art, my autism would manifest itself very differently within me. Art is how I manage my world. 


What advice would you give to other autistic individuals seeking in a career in the arts?

Firstly, I'd say that autism isn't a disability, it's a different ability. Express that. Use that. Embrace that.


Finally, what does World Autism Acceptance Week mean to you?

It's obviously an incredible thing but creating an Autism Acceptance Week only highlights the fact that we still need to accept autism in today's society. Having said that, the acceptance of autism is probably slightly easier to achieve than the understanding of it. I still suffer a severe lack of understanding even today.

However, the people I've met on this art journey have been incredible. Michelin-star chef Clare Smyth said, "Thank you for allowing me to understand autism more." This meant a great deal to me, and I know that many people are now encouraging autistic people to seek out jobs in hospitality because of that. Influencers aren't just for social media. They're for real life too.



Thanks so much for catching up with us Ian!


To continue to follow Ian on his artistic journey, head to his Instagram page @autistic_ian. Plus, don't forget to discover the collection for yourself – we donate 5% of sales to the National Autistic Society to further empower and support autistic individuals.