By Savanah Bandy 

Vincent Van Gogh. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Albert Einstein. Emily Dickinson. Andy Warhol.

What do these people have in common? Aside from being creative geniuses, they were all on the autism spectrum.

We have one more artist to add to that list: Paul Walden from Pittsburg, Kansas. 

Paul has been an artist all his life. Earlier this year, he made his debut with his first show and officially launched his business, Paul Walden Creations. 

Paul held his first artist’s reception at Root Coffeehouse, 402 North Broadway in Pittsburg April 24. 

Paul works primarily in acrylics, and his favorite subjects are iconic places and landmarks like Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, Tower Bridge in London, and the Great Wall of China.

Art has always come naturally to him even when other skills took longer. 

At the age of three, Paul was non-verbal and was recently diagnosed with autism. One day while painting, he had a breakthrough. 

“We were painting at the table with his older sister, Sarah – who is now an art graduate from Pittsburg State University – when Paul painted a circle, then two dots for eyes, and a smile line,” said Paul’s mother, Ellie Walden. 

“We didn’t have much connection at the time, and he wasn’t talking yet, so it was very exciting. From then on, any time he was nervous about a doctor visit or a long car ride, we would give him a pen and paper, and that was his way to relax.” 

The family discovered art wasn’t just a way for Paul to relax – he was good at it. 

Really good at it. 

In high school, Paul took every art class he could and excelled with his assignments. He even won the skills contest T-shirt design contest 3 years in a row. 

After graduation, Paul enrolled in public art classes through the Kansas City Art Institute. After a few years of these classes, the Art Institute helped Paul get connected with Kansas City artist Wes Benson to mentor him and help him take his work to the next level. 

“Wes had been working with another young artist with autism for many years, and Paul admired him so much,” Ellie said. “Paul started painting with Wes in 2017, and we saw massive improvements. Wes expects more from Paul and lets him know it, too!” 

So, what’s next on the horizon for this budding young artist from Pittsburg?

He will display and sell his work at upcoming local events, including the Pittsburg Fourth of July Celebration and Little Balkans Days. He also has tentative plans for more local shows in the area and beyond. 

When he’s not painting, Paul adores drawing and has set his sights on the world of cartooning and graphic novels. He has also made it a goal to start attending zine conferences to learn more about the business. 

“Paul would not be where he is without all the love and support we have received from the community and his mentor Wes,” Ellie said. “We are so grateful to all who have supported Paul, and we can’t wait to see where his art will take him.” 

To Purchase Artwork by Paul Walden:

Contact Paul Walden Creations at

paulwaldensartwork@gmail.com

620.704.1442

Find Paul Walden Artwork at:

Little Balkans Days

Arts, Crafts and Food Fair

Lincoln Park – 813 Memorial Drive, Pittsburg, Kansas

September 3

 

See more photos in the July 2022 print edition