A Life In Paint: How One Adult With Asperger’s Found His Place in the World Through Art

An Aspergers101 Exclusive with Artist Carl Parker

I happened upon the brilliance of Carl Parker by accident. He had engaged in a discussion on the Aspergers101 Facebook Page and his positive nature was very apparent among the sea of negative comments. Found out quickly that Carl is the real deal! His positive outlook and adult Asperger diagnosis proved to be a powerful combination when creating his artwork. Each piece tells a story that he narrates via blogs. He describes each creation with a beauty that allows it’s viewers a rare glimpse into his world. I know this was no accidental encounter. So proud to share with our readers the brilliance & artistry of Carl.

About the Artist: Carl Parker is a dynamic, Canadian artist whose work focuses on the life experience. His style is abstract expressionist. He creates thought-provoking and emotionally engaging works and explores the beauty and subtlety of both rural and urban life, having experienced both himself.  His art can be found in private and corporate collections throughout the world, including Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Europe. To date, he has shown his work in various cities including Toronto, Calgary, Florence, Italy and Paris.  His piece, Rustic Place, can currently be viewed at the Ontario Legislative Assembly’s In Camera Dining Room. 

Aspergers101: Clearly you are an artist with great talent. What inspires you?

Carl Parker: I began drawing at around age 8. I remember using a Spider-Man comic and being on my bedroom floor on my stomach. I was fascinated by how wonderful the character was drawn, so I attempted it myself. I was hooked. I’ve always been inspired by the human form. Over time, I would let my own style to develop with my painting of figures. I’m inspired by showing the emotions and complexities of us humans in my own, individual painting style.

Carl Parker shown with his work “Rustic Place” which is currently on display in the Ontario Legislature’s In Camera Dining Room.

Aspergers101: Upon learning you were diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, did this affect your art in any way? Do you think it plays a part?

Carl Parker: I feel the Asperger’s plays a part in my unusual style. It pushed me to always be different in everything I do. This always felt like a sense of healthy pride for me, and never a weakness. To me, the Asperger’s is absolutely was not a negative. It gave me ambition to be a good artist. My late-in-life diagnosis was good for me, I wanted to know, and have since become a very level and successful person in this beautiful world of ours. Nobody paints like me. That makes me smile.

The person on the spectrum CAN experience triumphs of massive proportions. They CAN contribute important things to the world.

Carl Parker

Aspergers101: How would you describe the meaning in your paintings…are they connected?

Carl Parker: When someone sees and/or feels something in my art, I have done my job. I’ve contributed something and when the viewer connects with the piece, I feel joy and excitement because I’ve translated a piece of life, effectively in a powerful way. When a person has Asperger’s, they can often feel the need to isolate themselves from people and society in general, but with my art, I can connect with people. This is huge in such a healthy and progressive way. For me, my art is actually therapy. They say people with Asperger’s have a hard time showing their emotions and seem cold. In my paintings, people find emotion. It’s a magnificent thing when emotion is found, both for me and the viewer. I’ve noticed my art has the power to transcend all worries, hang-ups, negativity, and the pointless aspects of the trivial sort of mind. All pettiness begins to fall away. How brilliant this is.

Aspergers101: Please share with us your favorite pieces and travels as an artist. You’ve been places!

Carl Parker: I’ve included pictures of my favorite pieces. My favorite place in relation to my art is Florence, Italy. The atmosphere of Italy is unique and wonderful. The art history there is powerful. To have my art in a show there was really great. For this to happen early in my art career was fantastic and it greatly helped get my art noticed and brought me much success in terms of recognition and collectors. It also ended up helping quite a bit financially. As an artist, I was not really expecting that! Empty Apartment, Train Station, Empty City, Safe with Mother, Day at the Mall, Ice shadows, The Knowing, 6 Year Old Warrior Girl (commission)

Aspergers101:  The Empty City depicts such emotion of an abandoned town. Please share your insight.

“Empty City” by Carl Parker

Carl Parker: Empty City flowed out of me with such a natural force. There wasn’t much thinking or wondering what I was going to paint, but just flowing along to see what wanted to happen. The piece definitely has a complexity, but also teaches a simple lesson about life, “There’s always hope.” I often say that this painting shows the workings of my brain.

Aspergers101:  Your wife seems to be your biggest fan! Tell us about her influence on your work and of her encouragement to compile your beautiful work through your book: “A Life In Paint”

Carl Parker: For starters, she has a very high IQ. Secondly, she has the ability to read a piece of art and know if it’s good or not. When we got together, I ended up really letting go in my painting and my art became my own way of producing abstract expressionism. She’s also my agent and has gotten me shows and collectors. It was her idea to do the book. She wanted to give something back to my fans and knew it would be an enjoyable thing for them to see a collection of some of my paintings with my description of each.

Aspergers101: Where may we purchase your book, “A Life in Paint”?

Carl Parker: Just click on the book cover and it will take you to Amazon to purchase my book.

I was pleasantly surprised with the high quality of this book…I wasn’t sure what to expect when it said in paperback form…very very nice and I quite enjoyed looking and reading about each art piece…Beautiful art!!! I highly recommend..you will not be disappointed!

Mary Miller

As a self taught painter with Asperger’s Syndrome, Carl Parker has achieved remarkable success. His unique style, which incorporates impressionism, realism, abstraction and surrealism, is something he calls “spontaneous flow”. Over the years, he has painted hundreds of works which now hang all over the world. This book is a collection of his favorite pieces, described by the artist himself. – Amazon

To see my art, please go to my website here: Carl Parker Art

Aspergers101: Lastly, what would you like to say to those newly diagnosed with Autism/Asperger Syndrome or to their parents/caregivers?

Carl Parker: Were there great challenges involved in my art path to end up being successful? Yes. However, when you know you have a talent, are willing to work at it, don’t allow anything or anybody to stop you, YOU can see success. Success is not falling off a log, it’s hard work. The person on the spectrum CAN experience triumphs of massive proportions. They CAN contribute important things to the world.


Quick Links:

Get the book: Carl Parker: A Life In Paint: How One Adult With Asperger’s Found His Place in the World Through Art

Go to the Carl Parker Website: Carl Parker Art

by: Jennifer Allen

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Jennifer Allen

After an extensive career broadcast marketing, Jennifer and her husband searched for answers when their oldest son hit the kinder years with great difficultly. After finally learning that their oldest son had Aspergers Syndrome, she left her career in television and became a full time mother to both of her sons. Jennifer elicited the participation of her sons and together they produced several independent programs including a children’s animated series titled Ameriquest Kids (now distributed by Landmark Media) as well as her documentary and book titled, Coping to Excelling: Solutions for school-age children diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome. The need for more information encouraged Jennifer to elicit a team of autism experts to provide weekly, original content to a website free to anyone seeking to live their best under the diagnosis of High-Functioning Autism/Aspergers Syndrome… appropriately titled: Aspergers101.com.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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