Andrea Michael

Artist in Melbourne, Australia

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I was born in Brisbane, Australia in the 80s and grew up with a pencil seemingly permanently attached to my hand. I was completely horse obsessed and, while my art subjects have diversified to other animals, horses remain a solid theme in my work. As a child and teenager my artistic abilities, while above average, progressed along a fairly normal trajectory of practice a lot and improve incrementally.

I have had many challenges in my life, including chronic severe anxiety, and I was placed on medication in 2001 which, while I was only on it for a few years, almost completely destroyed my ability to create for 10 long years. Just as I had decided it was never going to come back, one evening I picked up a pencil and began to draw highly detailed, realistic drawings from photo references. In 2014 my ability to create from imagination also returned and again my skill level was as though I'd never stopped practicing for that decade.

This confused me for some time, but I have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum and my art skill has been identified as a savant skill by Darold Treffert, a leading expert in savant syndrome. As I cannot work a normal job, I am hoping to eventually gain financial independence via my art. Despite a few false starts where the anxiety of exhibiting, talking to clients and being in the public eye caused me to stop taking commissions and hide, I am now creating a future for myself with support from a few awesome individuals for the things I find difficult.

These days I live in Melbourne, Australia with my amazing partner who not only takes great joy in all my creative weirdness but also helps me with the harder day to day challenges of being on the spectrum.