IN STEVE’S WORDS
Who am I? (My cat probably thinks I’m the food god.) I have to live up to her expectations and keep finding money in my bank account [to feed her]. This arrangement makes me happy. When my cat is happy, then I’m happy.
My website reminds me about who I am, because of what I do. I like to make people happy, too. When I do commercial art for example, a customer’s daughter may need her father’s success, and I find that this is a huge and very serious responsibility.
Sometimes the commercial art has to be infused with humor, but that outcome… the final print job, or whatever- has to be a success and perfect, nothing less, to the best of my ability, even if the job is simple or complicated.
Also, I have people in my personal life that I have to keep happy too.
When I do other art, so-called fine art, as opposed to commercial art, I do that because if I don’t do that, I will go crazy and become very sad.
My life has been Art, and Art has been my life.
That sounds very unreal. Perhaps it’s a conundrum. Art is not pretty. Form follows function, that’s one rule of many of my rules, which are so brilliantly easy to follow, that they are automatic. Art must cause questions in the minds of the viewers, or else it is impotent. I have never had a New York art gallery show. Yet, I don’t consider myself a failure. I think that I have done quite well. On all my 1040 forms with our US Treasury IRS, I have written, as my job description, ARTIST, even in the years before my graduation with a BFA. I still use the divisionary terms, Commercial Art and Fine Art. Actually, neither supersedes the other. Art as a function of my life must always try to earn money. The ideas that I put into my Art, whether for hire or for the Art gallery have to satisfy both aesthetics and my meager life requirements.
Both my art and life are humorous.
My life developed much more slowly than most people and I had been called a late bloomer many times. I know that this fact is very true but now I accept myself for who I am as an Asperger’s Syndrome individual. This is a newer psychiatric evaluation and I was born this way. In the distant past, the doctors were diagnosing me as schizophrenic and bipolar, because the current science at that time had no other way of labeling me.
Recently I have added new goals for my life. I have only done 3 public speaking presentations regarding autism plus one television interview, but I can strongly identify with the prospect of doing many more. I hope that I can do this, to instill confidence in people affected by autism. I want people to know that they can have their education and the focus of a career through persistence, as I have done. Perhaps I can help some of these young late bloomers.
Note from Kimberly Gerry-Tucker: Steve will tell you I am one of his first friends on the spectrum. From the get-go, we supported each other’s talents. We had our art appear in the same book(s) and although Steve and I never met in real time, we did speak on the phone and through emails from time to time. Our professional relationship grew to be a valued and comfortable one. Steve’s passion for advocating, his fine artistic abilities and fluency of speech are all things that inspire me. I reccommend both his art, be it commercial or fine, his storytelling, (see Temple Grandin’s latest book “The Thinking Brain, thinking across the spectrum” for a chapter from Steve).
Oh one more thing, I think it’s pretty cool he was born on 11/11. In fact, in numerology, his birth date is a 1. That tells you a lot right there. Mine is eleven but then of course the 1 is added to the other 1 and so my final number is 2.
What 1 meant for Steve:
One (1): Unity, beginnings, God, masculine, creative, symbol of physical and mental activity. It’s a number that expresses leadership, ‘spotlight type’ individuality. There’s a tendency to being organized, and ambitious. Ones go to the top in everything that peaks their interest, reflecting a natural leader. They are forerunners and original thinkers… Often, they are loners…
What 2 means for me: Two (2): Traits like yielding, receptive, accepting, forgiving, passive, uncomplicated and stable. But, twos make things or groups function more efficiently. Devotion to truth and simplicity is of major importance. Twos are the opposite personality to “1s”. They are followers, good subordinates and team members. Often too subservient, which others perceive as weak or shy because of their natural gentleness. Because of their natural tendencies towards peace and diplomacy, they can appreciate both sides of an argument, and are good mediators. Their path in life is to nurture, and make the ideas of others shine…make their systems work. Twos need for peaceful assertion makes their lives work extremely smooth, while others may have more bumps in the road.
STEVE’S MORE DETAILED BIO, written by Steve (shortened by Kim)
The powerful impact of nine events changed my outlook and destiny. All of
these are very positive life changing events.
(1) In 1964, my 7th Grade teacher, Bob Wood and the principal Mr.
Deeley, at Prince Charles Public School, had a conference with
me and told me that in the 10th grade I will be majoring in art at the
H. B. Beal School of Art in London, Ontario.
(2) Entering Beal in September of 1966 changed my life, forever,
because it taught me the importance of becoming an artist. This
whole experience made me realize the roles of artists versus non
(3) My LSD experience in February 17, 1968 changed my speech
capabilities so that I would no longer be stammering from having
eye contact with people. This was the most important life-changing
event in my entire life. Prior to this, I was very introverted and
would always forget what I was saying. Afterwards, I would have
the ability to speak and I could feel that I was being heard.
(4) My first psychiatric hospitalization in 1970 made me realize why I
had failed to socialize properly. This was a deep analysis that was
ultimately very constructive. This was the beginning of my
psychiatric evaluations, which continued throughout my life.
(5) My critique of my Senior Show requirement at the Kent State
School of Art in 1979 gave me a penetrating analysis of my art
efforts and who I am. The comments by my panel of faculty
members had the proper mix of positive and negative points,
which formed my character regarding how and why I do art.
(6) When Hickok, Inc., hired me in 1985, in Cleveland, Ohio, my
confidence was reinforced that I had a professional role as a
creative staff member in a viable corporation.
(7) On April 22, 2001, I had sold and left my mortgaged house and
downsized my existence to what is truly important in my life. Finally
I learned how to be cautious and not to trust people so that they
could cause harm to my business.
(8) In 2003, I realized that I could serve my customers via long
distance communications. I had moved to Florida and my main
customers were in Ohio. My skill of expository writing had
improved dramatically and this skill is my greatest asset to myself
and my to customers.
(9) On May 16th, 2006, a psychologist working for Vocational
Rehabilitation for the Board of Education of Florida diagnosed me
as having the lifelong condition of autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.
This was crucially important, because all my life I had the labels of
mental illness, which must specify a date of onset. Now it was
finally proven by science that I was born this way.
Name Steve Selpal
Resided in City Palm Bay, Florida
firstname.lastname@example.org (address to Anita Knapp Kidney)
Steve Selpal Art Production, Inc.
Graphics and Art consulting business
Palm Bay, FL