Neptune Bar Hosts Display of Autistic Artist

 

This painting of the carousel building is the work of Peter Price.

This painting of the carousel building is the work of Peter Price.

By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI

A Monmouth County man with autism has been selling his paintings in the shore area for several years and a local bar is hosting an event for him.

Peter Price, 25, who sells his work on a donation basis, will exhibit several pieces at Sprengel’s Sports Bar in Neptune on Sat., Dec. 9 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Marilyn Price, Peter’s mother, said he has always had an interest in drawing.

“I remember him always grabbing paper plates and drawing on them. He has had no formal training, but seems to improve every day,” she says.

About 10 years ago, Marilyn says, Peter took a serious interest in Japanese animation, and began drawing characters from Sailor Moon and video games Super Mario and Metal Gear Solid.

After graduating from high school Peter didn’t have a program to go into so Marilyn wanted him to do something that was meaningful to him.

She contacted a video game store in Red Bank called Yestercades and asked if it would be OK if Peter sat outside the store with his easel drawing his favorite characters.

“They welcomed him with open arms…that was three years ago” Marilyn said.

From late spring through the fall Peter and Marilyn went to Red Bank most weekends, where Peter would sell his artwork for a donation.

“I didn’t want to put a price on it. I wanted people to pay what they wanted to pay for his art.  It’s not at all about the money.  It’s about him sharing what he loves to do, socializing, interacting with people, gaining independence, gaining confidence and having lots of fun while doing it,” Marilyn says.

Peter paints scenes from Asbury Park including Tillie and the Carousel building. He also paints the covers of Play Bills from Broadway shows.

Recently Peter decided to attend a benefit for a dog named Phoenix, who was at the Brick Township Veterinary Hospital waiting for surgery for a cleft palate.

Peter, who lives in Middletown Township, sold several of his paintings and donated 100 percent of the proceeds to Phoenix’s family.

“We lost our dog this summer and we wanted to help another dog,” Marilyn said.

Peter’s passion right now is the animated series the Powerpuff Girls and Marilyn said he is determined to meet the actresses who provide the voices for the three main characters. Peter would also like to become a famous artist.

“Those are his main goals; to become a famous artists and to go to California to meet the girls who do the voices for the Powerpuff Girls,” she said.

Marilyn said Peter often donates the proceeds from his works but also uses the money to purchase art supplies.

“Right now he is trying to raise the money to go to California,” she said.

Marilyn is overjoyed at the success Peter is having with his art.

“Peter amazes me more each day. He loves life, he loves his art and he loves being around people and having them tell him that they love the art he creates,” she said. “He is happy and enjoying everything he does and that makes me happy.”

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