Michael Tolleson, An Autistic Savant Artist, Author, and Advocate
To create his prolific works of art, with no formal instruction in art, Michael relies on his Asperger’s-mind. During his short-painting-career (less than 5 years) he has painted more than eight hundred gallery-worthy paintings. Regardless of its size, paintings are usually completed in less than 120 minutes. As a result, Michael is reluctant to take credit for his work, believing his savant autism is actually the artist within him. Until his mid-fifties, Michael was unaware of his autism. In 2015, at the age of fifty-eight, he was formally diagnosed with Autism.
In October 2014 Michael received a global first place in visual arts at the “ANCA Naturally Autistic 2014 Awards” in Scotland.
In April 2015, Michael appeared and painted live at the Nokia Center in Los Angeles during the “Temple Grandin and Friends’” event, demonstrating, as a savant, the gifts autism brings through him. He does this often at autism benefits and conferences.
Michael maintains and operate The Michael Tolleson Savant Art Gallery, a 1600 square-foot facility that houses art studios, offices and art mentoring classrooms for autistic youth. The art studios and mentoring will soon be expanding its presence into central Mexico.
Presently Michael is writing an advice book on autism-to-autism relationships, as well as continuing his global speaking/painting engagements. Michael’s artworks are collected and sought after world wide.
Since 2012, the year Michael established his first artist social media page, Michael’s paintings and writings have been featured in three books:
Dr. Tony Atwood’s Been There, Done That, Try This an Asperger's advice guide for the world
A European artist-collective/compilation Coffee Table Book titled, Sachet Mixte
A collection of women based artworks with written inspirations, The Strength Of Women Coffee Table Book by Michael Tolleson
As an author, advocate, and artist, Michael has been featured on:
NBC affiliate KING 5 Morning Show (New Day Northwest) in 2013
The Seattle Cable Channel 2013
KCPQ Fox Q13 Seattle 2014
KING 5’s Evening Newscast in Seattle 2015
Huntington, West Virginia’s NBC affiliate WSAZ Newscast April 2016
Huntington, West Virginia’s NBC affiliate WSAZ Newscast April 2017
San Diego’s CW6 Morning Newscast Oct 2016
He has also been interviewed for countless newspaper articles and radio shows.