Many individuals on the autistic spectrum develop their own unique methods of coping with the stress and anxiety that having autism can entail. Growing up, Grant Manier's strategy was tearing paper. Now 23, the Texas resident has turned recycled paper into striking works of “Eco-Art,” which sell for thousands of dollars at fundraising galas. Manier’s subject matter is diverse, covering everything from giraffes and orangutans to religious symbols, mermaids, and Mount Rushmore.
Speaking to ABC 13 this past month, Manier described his art as soothing and “a form of meditation.”
“All my materials, I find them everywhere,” he said. “People even hand us some of their recyclable materials that they don't want to use anymore, like magazines or puzzles.”
As a teenager, Manier began attracting attention for his work after winning Grand Champion Awards two years in a row in the Austin Rodeo’s Eco-Art competition. Since then, Manier has visited schools across Texas to teach students about creating Eco-Art. His mother, Julie Coy-Manier, says her son understands that the art is a form of therapy for him, and appreciates the importance of providing that same therapy to children and young adults with autism.
Manier’s work has earned him a number of honors, including the Houston Mayor’s Student Volunteer Award, and recognition from the Texas Senate. One of his works was chosen to hang in the U.S. Capitol for a year, while another was purchased by several lawmakers, including Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.
So far, Manier has used over $250,000 of his earnings to benefit charitable causes, including camps for children with special needs, scholarships for students, and therapy classes. Manier has also co-authored a children’s book series with his mother. The first book, Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe: Different is More, aims to inspire children with special needs and help them recognize their talents. The book has been recognized by the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation and the Texas Governor’s Committee for Disabilities.
Summing up his message, Manier said that “it's not what you can't do, it's what you can do that makes a difference.”
Manier’s artwork can be viewed online at https://www.grantsecoart.com/.