Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Coy.
Grant Maniér – He is one of the country’s most exciting emerging young artists with state and national accolades. Even more amazing, he’s done it all with a diagnosis that most would consider a disability, but he considers it an ABILITY.
In an often-misunderstood world of autism, Grant Maniér, (pronounced maun-yay), 22 years old, is a special need advocate and one of the most intriguing and captivating young Eco-impressionists of today.
His story is an amazing example of how a complex disorder can grant some of the most amazing gifts; a combination of a window of imagination and an autistic mind that allows him to see and work beyond the norm. Grant creates stunning collage masterpieces using thousands of pieces of torn/cut shaped and textured paper from recycled calendars, magazines, posters, puzzles and more. He spends upward to 20 hours a week on his “Eco-impressionist” pieces. From an owl made using movie posters to dolphins crafted with applesauce lids. Grant is breaking the mold and changing perceptions, whether an admirer or owner of an Eco-original or print, people love his art, his story, and what he stands for, “HOPE”.
Grant, in just a few short years from the age of 15, created a business that started as a homeschool project and has now established himself as an awarding winning Eco-artist, author, and illustrator.
He’s been recognized by the United State Congress, the Texas State Senate, the Texas Governor, the Mayor of Houston and the Austin Rodeo as Grand Champion. Recently, Grant and his mother co-authored their first children’s book; Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe ~ Different is MORE and captured the Texas Governor’s Committee choice award for media and communication for 2018.
An Early Love for Paper
By the age of 3, Grant showed an extreme fascination and passion for paper: writing, coloring, drawing and tearing. However, in the same breath, he was also exhibiting signs of extreme anxiety, social challenges, and obsessions (lining up toys, repetitive TV talk). By the age of 5, he was diagnosed with autism. Grant’s mother enrolled him in a private school (Westview School, Houston, Texas) for kids with autism until the age of 8.
At 9, Grant started public school, struggling academically, and being bullied (Grade 3-5). Grant’s anxieties overwhelmed him and his ability to focus on tasks were disappearing, even his love for art. Realizing that mainstream schooling was not working for Grant, his mother decided that homeschooling was the next best option. Once at home she encouraged Grant’s strengths and insisted that he rediscover his love of art by adding it to the homeschool curriculum. Grant started to incorporate paper art as a coping technique for his anxieties.
At the age of 14, Grant created his first Eco-art masterpiece “The SUN GOD,” shaped using over 4000 pieces of cut and torn recycled magazines, calendars, and craft paper onto a canvas. The art piece at first glance appeared to be a painting, but it was not. Grant’s mother was naive to the art world but knew a little something about business. After meeting with art appraisers and telling them Grant’s story, she learned that what she would have otherwise sold for $100 (Sun God), she sold for $7500 in 2017.
Grant is not your typical artist. He took a compulsive habit, ripping paper, and turned it into something magical. Collaging is an “OLD” form of art, but now is a “NEW” art movement thanks to Eco-friendly times and Eco-artists like Grant Maniér.
Grant sees a medium that can be brought to life through hours of work, intense focus abilities, and remarkable patience. He follows the same method for every art piece: a brush, recycle materials, tear, cut, glue, shade, glaze, and repeat. The paper is expertly applied to a canvas by the hands of a genius. “I never know how each one will turn out. I just keep going and see what happens, “stay-in-action, is just one of my motto’s,” Grant says.
He finds inspiration and ideas from nature, animals, academic subjects, friends, traveling, the World Wide Web and his greatest inspiration his mother. Grant has coined his art “COOLAGES” because he says he uses cool colors, cool shapes, cool textures. His art has brought him peace and purpose. “Art is my meditation,” he explains, “When my anxieties get the best of me and I need to look for peace, all I have to do is come back to my art and I feel connected to something bigger.”
Grant has a garage full of puzzles and it’s no coincidence that the puzzle piece is the symbol for autism. Recycled puzzles happen to be one of Grant’s greatest signatures marks. Grant not only recycles puzzles for his art, once he receives the box he proceeds to peel the print off of each puzzle piece, “I need the puzzle to be paper thin so I can apply it to the canvas easily, that’s why I need to peel the print off each piece,” Grant says. He is the only known puzzle artist to apply this painstaking puzzle process to his art. Although he teaches children and adults to recycle puzzle and create art, it takes a tremendous amount of patience and time to create the masterpieces that Grant does effortlessly.
Grant travels make appearances and raise money for schools, galas, conferences, and other great causes. Exhibiting and teaching the importance of recycling and protecting our planet. With his beautiful and breath-taking Eco-Art masterpieces, Grant captures the attention of everyone around him and has created a following for his art. He has worked alongside Dr. Temple Grandin, the most well-known person with autism (HBO movie, Time Magazine “100 most influential people in the world). Grant has also raised thousands of dollars for great causes with his Eco-art and motivational message.
In 2017, Grant and his mother, Julie Coy Maniér, embarked on a new chapter in their lives and began writing and illustrating a series of children’s books that highlight special needs animals in a zoo. Their first book, Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe, exceeded their expectations of acceptance by the special needs community that they started writing a series of children’s books relating to other animals in the zoo. Each animal has a special challenge and through their friendship with Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe they come to realize they are different… but MORE! Because they receive compassion and mentorship they are able to rise above their diversity and understand how to turn their challenge around and see the greater purpose and message they can share with others.
Topics such as Autism, Epilepsy, Bullying, Deaf, Dyslexia and other challenges will be addressed. Grant and Julie are writing their books after individuals they have met along their own personal journey. These are real-life stories and circumstances. Grant and Julie are graciously giving proceeds to the person they create their story after. The most exciting and innovated aspect of their books is not just the stories they write, but each book is printed with a dyslexia friendly font. A font that allows the reader to enjoy and those with reading challenges to read comfortably.
But, they didn’t stop at just writing stories. Each book is complimented with a plush toy that relates to the main character in the book; Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe, Tori the Red Panda, Macy the Zebra, and more.
Grant Manier, to some, stands for “Hope,” and for others, a “New Era.” As an Eco-artist, he’s protecting and teaching others to save the earth. As a person living with autism, he has become a voice for those who cannot hear by leading the way with his remarkable special talent and teaching the world, “It’s not what we can’t do… It’s what we can do, that makes the difference”.
I am honored to help spread the message of the incredible achievements many have accomplished while living with autism. April is Autism Awareness Month, but every month is a challenge for us. We are grateful to organizations that spend endless hours and money, all year long, developing educational resources and events in order to help others understand our challenges, by giving them a glimpse into our lives and bringing greater thought and sensitivity toward our everyday challenges.
We are thankful to our families, siblings, teachers, boyfriend/girlfriend, spouses and educators who “go the extra mile” to assist us in obtaining goals we have set out to achieve since we were diagnosed. Autism has it’s “ups and downs” and it annoys some people, but we are happy because we are “not-left-behind” and people love us and guide us, that is all we need. I am grateful to everyone who is helping me raise awareness all over the world of the abilities those of us with autism process.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My school for autism. It was the happiest time in my life. I wasn’t judged or picked on. We were all the same, not really, but it didn’t matter. We were all happy.
- Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe book: Retail $16.95
- Grant the Jigsaw Giraffe plush toy: Retail $16.95
- Grant’s artwork: $30 on up
- Email: www.JigsawGrant.com
- Facebook: Jigsaw Grant M
Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.