Vermont Arts Council

I am a Vermont Artist: Larry Bissonette

“My art is not looking to make a statement about my autism,” writes Larry Bissonnette. He suggests in his artist statement that “Awestruck stories about the individual triumphing over the adversity of autism need to be lessened in favor of practicing art as the promotion of creative self expression across all levels of, open to art, ability.”

Larry is an artist, a movie star, and an advocate for people with autism and other disabilities. He communicates through typing—using a keyboard to express his views about the creative process and how people should experience his art. “Your coming to see my art should be your potentially life-changing wake up call to do art and not just make missing-the-point conversation about art over wine and orders of fancy meat-filled pastry and cheese. Let’s save those snacks for celebrating your doing of art and sharing it with others.”
Larry shared his thoughts about being a Vermont artist.
How has living as an artist in Vermont affected your creative process?

Approach to art in Vermont is like most organic partnership between the artistic vision of the artist and fine art people who value artistic creativity made by intuitions and feelings rather than intellectually learned methods in an art school.

What is something about your art that has changed over time?

To work on my art in the institution, I only painted with markers and crayons. Now I can use acrylic paint and paper of good quality but painting subjects are still people, landscapes, and outside structures and my painting strokes are still coarse and vigorous.

What is your vision for the next several years?

To place more paintings in galleries and use my presentations at conferences to promote my art.

Read about Larry’s solo solo exhibit at the Amy E. Tarrant Gallery in Burlington.

Watch a trailer for the award-winning My Classic Life as an Artist.

Find out about Communication Alternatives in Autism, an upcoming book that includes a chapter written by Larry.

Learn more about Larry and the documentary in which he starred, Wretches & Jabberers.

The “I am a Vermont Artist” series explores how artists’ creative expressions reflect their experiences of ethnicity, gender identity, religion, disability, or age. Covering all artistic disciplines, and a range of backgrounds—from New Americans to the state’s first residents—we hope to amplify voices that deepen our understanding of what it means to be a Vermont artist.

Visit the series archive.