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Proud autistic student on his journey to become a successful artist


When Charlie Jackman attended his first art class at age nine, one of the first things he noticed was that it gave him a real sense of concentration and focus. Growing up as a proud autistic person, this wasn’t always easy for him to find. The more time he spent on art, the more satisfaction he got, so he really started to throw himself into it.

Several years on from his first class, the Year 11 Melbourne student has come a long way. He’s worked hard fine tuning his painting and drawing skills and gets inspiration from all around the world, with landscapes and animals some of his favourite subject matter to draw.

Starting his own business - with some famous clients

Then something started to happen. More and more people started admiring Charlie’s work, going out of their way to deliver compliments to him. He started to realise this wasn’t just something he enjoyed, but a genuine talent. This gave him the spark and confidence to step up his art career, and with a little help from his mum he started his own business.

Established in 2019, Charlie by Art celebrates Charlie’s art, creativity and individual endeavour through producing and selling greeting cards printed with his art. Sales of the cards are healthy, and have led to even more recognition. On top of people buying cards, commissions started rolling in for personalised cards and art pieces - from some very famous members of the community.

Most notably, former Premier of Victoria Dan Andrews commissioned Charlie to paint a landscape of Melbourne which Andrews used for his Christmas cards in 2019. In 2021 Charlie completed a piece for Federal Minister for the NDIS Bill Shorten, painting a landscape of his electorate, Maribyrnong.

These opportunities have boosted Charlie’s confidence, and helped him to further focus on his goal of becoming a famous autistic artist. As well as celebrating and promoting his art, Charlie by Art also helps Charlie learn important skills for life and entrepreneurship including communication, marketing and web design.

Taking his art to the next level with the Edstart award grant

In recognition of his amazing drive and talent, Charlie has taken out the 2023 Edstart Achievement Award in the Performing and Visual Arts category. When he found out he had won, Charlie said it was a great feeling, reassuring him of his talent and that he was on the right path.

With his $1,500 award grant money Charlie plans to pay for solo art classes, which he prefers to group classes as he finds it easier to concentrate on the lessons. He also plans to use part of the money to grow his business, helping to pay for costs such as production and marketing so he can have more pieces available for purchase.

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