Carlos is a self-taught clay artist. We discovered his savant skill when he was about 6 years old.
Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at a younger age, he has sensory and processing issues that make it difficult for him to focus and sustain a conversation. As he struggled with sensory integration issues, something as ordinary as a visit to the mall needed some form of stress relief that he found from holding a ball of clay. We were all surprised that instead of just kneading the clay, he would actually create different animal figures as he casually walked around with only some occasional glances at his work. The animals he created were molded delicately and with precise detail, and not a single clay figure would be the same as another. The mix and choice of colors were also amazing!
While Carlos finds it difficult to express himself verbally, he uses his unique gift in clay modeling to clearly express how he sees the world around him. His use of vibrant colors and detailed creations makes his works come to life. His works are his voice, speaking loud and clear.
As he grew older, his interest widened into different forms of art. He could belt out a tune covering a wide vocal range and would sing in perfect pitch and tune. He also started taking interest in drawing and coloring. That was when we enrolled him at Sam Galvez’ Village Art Gallery, the art school where his older brother learned how to paint. Unlike clay, he had to be taught the basics of painting as the shift from three-dimensional art to two-dimensional art was a major change from his perspective. However, with his natural ability to select and mix colors, he grew to love and learn painting in no time! He saw that he could create something better from his basic drawings.
Carlos is currently a transition student of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders Philippines – Professionals for Autism Foundation Inc. (CARD Phils – PAFI). Outside of school and therapy sessions, he spends his time for other interests like swimming, going to the gym, baking, playing mine craft and watching movies.
Carlos and Friends
Carlos and Friends was established in 2012 as a venue to promote autism awareness through Carlos' colorful and fun creations printed on various merchandise.
It all started as an endearing term we used to call Carlos and his clay animal creation his “friends”. Today, Carlos and Friends has a bigger dream – to promote autism awareness by show casing the talents for Carlos and children like him.
Carlos and friends hopes to provide a channel to show the creative expression of Carlos and his friends and, by doing so, we hope to encourage new friends to join in.
Some of Carlos' works
Autism Awareness Fair
Welcome 2022 – Year of the Water Tiger!
It has been a rough 2022 start for most of us, with Omicron hitting closer to home and Odette affecting some of our dear friends and partners. If there is one thing I have come to understand, these experiences have taught us to become more resilient.
I suppose that is also how people with Autism learn to adapt.
My nicely planned out year ender writeup and start of the year welcome had to take a back seat. However, not all is lost. Thanks to the Chinese, there is another New Year around the corner.
So I am taking advantage of it to be one of the first to wish all of you a Happy Lunar Year of the Water Tiger!
Before I tell you what we have in store for 2022, allow me to share what 2021 has been for both Carlos and, Carlos and Friends. There have been a lot of firsts for both!
This was the first year when I decided to retire (after working for more than 30 years) and focus more on Carlos who has already been 4 years into his teenage years. What I did not expect was the reaction of Carlos! I guess like all teenagers, you would not want your mom hovering during your classes and therapy sessions. What was I thinking? Of course, he’s 17! Oh well, at least we eventually came to an agreement on when and how I can join him.
Carlos joined his first exhibit last July / August at Hiraya Gallery thru Special Achievers. He was a bit disappointed though that he was not able to go to the gallery physically to see all his artworks on display and to say hi to friends and family who visited the gallery during the opening event. He however did get to join us virtually. What was also exciting was that he was able to sell most of his artworks during that exhibit! Well done Carlos!
We finally launched carlosandfriendsph.com last November 2021! It was both exciting and scary as this was a first for me! However, we were all very encouraged (Carlos included) with the wonderful responses from all of you. We hope you will continue to support us so that we can help more kids with autism share their artworks through Carlos and Friends merchandise.
Successful 2022 Collaboration Calendar project! Carlos and Friends had been selling a modest number of desk calendars for the last 4 years showcasing the artworks of Carlos. This year, we tried something different. Thirteen collaborative artwork compilation of thirteen artists with special abilities were the highlight of the 2022 Collaboration Calendar project. This project was a huge success on several fronts!
We were successful in showcasing the talents of these kids to a wider audience in the Philippines and around the world! In addition, we received overwhelming feedback from countries like Spain, London, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Israel, the US and Canada.
We sold a lot more calendars than our usual modest volume and met new people along the way, who not only supported us but also expressed interest in collaborating with us on various fronts. What was priceless was the stories they shared and the journeys each of them took.
We finally offered our calendars via our partner of 3 years now – Fully Booked – and the response was amazing!
Now you know why I couldn’t just let the year pass without sharing with you these wonderful events!
Encouraged by these events in 2021, we are eager to continue what we have started into 2022 and beyond! The Year of the Water Tiger is just a few days away and, they say, if you want to begin the year right, you should have a plan.
Here are some of the things we plan to do this year:
Release at least one new product every quarter!
Feature new artists on our new and existing products every other month!
Invite more friends to join us in reaching more people to support these artists
Be more visible with other forms of social media
Continue to increase the website traffic and subscribers to create a more active Carlos and Friends community who can share their stories and ideas!
As we reach out and invite more artist friends to join Carlos, it is our hope that in this journey they are able to freely discover and create more, for others to enjoy and appreciate.
Wishing you all a wonderful, colorful and happy lunar new year!
Carlos and Lisha Felipe
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