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Artfully Joe


Artfully Joe
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Meet Joe Baker, a 21-year-old artist with autism who, with his mother, runs a successful online business selling his drawings. Reporter: Faiza Elmasry, Camera | Editor: June Soh

((PKG)) ARTFULLY JOE
((TRT: 6:38))
((Topic Banner: Artfully Joe))
((Reporter:
Faiza Elmasry))
((Camera/Editor:
June Soh))
((Map:
Bristow, Virginia))
((Main character: 1 female; 1 male))
((NATS: Joe and Colleen))
Colleen:
So today, you're going to do something from Mimi's Garden.
Joe: I guess but I don’t have to do all of it.
Colleen: Well, you can get started on it. Okay. What colors are we going to need?
Joe: Red. Oh, a dark red orange and yellow and light orange.
Colleen: Yeah, it looks like it goes from dark orange to yellow. And then what other colors?
Joe: Brown.
Colleen: And?
Joe: Green.
Colleen: Green. So, let's go ahead and get some of those colors out.
((NATS/MUSIC))
((Joe Baker
Artist))

My name is Joe and I am 21 years old. I did a lot of good arts, like animals and insects and all that. And I did some background paintings. 2003 or something, I think that's when I started. I was in preschool then. I was really, really little.
((Colleen Baker
Joe’s Mother))

He was diagnosed with autism
((Photo Courtesy: Colleen Baker))
when he was just turning four.
((Photo Courtesy: Colleen Baker))
We suspected some things before that.
((Photo Courtesy: Colleen Baker))
And at his second-year appointment, the doctor said, “Well, why don't we do something called Child Find which, where they do the early screening.”
((Photo Courtesy: Colleen Baker))
I have a daughter also who is five years older than Joe. So, wanting to support her and give her as much attention as I wanted to
((Photo Courtesy: Colleen Baker))
and also give Joe the attention that he needed,
sometimes that was, that was difficult.
((NATS/MUSIC))
As he got a little bit older and he was diagnosed with epilepsy in middle school, he started to use drawing not only for,
((Photo Courtesy: Colleen Baker))
for fun, but I think it was also a way to cope, a way to process maybe some feelings he was having. I still think he does that.
((NATS: Colleen))
Colleen: It might be a tiny bit too much water. That's okay. Put a little bit more paint.
((Joe Baker
Artist))
When my friends and other adults see my art, they say, “Way to go, Joe.”
((NATS: Colleen))
Colleen: You probably have enough to cover that whole thing. Has to dry. This one has to dry.
((Colleen Baker
Joe’s mother))
I was a teacher, an educator. I enjoyed being with the children. And as Joe got into high school and his epilepsy became a little more intense, I found I was just juggling. It just got overwhelming. I think I just got to the point where I knew I had to choose and that there was no choice. It was just to be home with Joe and I had to make that decision. It was not a day, a great time. It was sudden. It wasn't exactly how I wanted to leave teaching, you know. I guess I always planned on retiring but it worked out. It was, it was an adjustment but it definitely brought us some new opportunities.
((NATS: Joe and Colleen))
Colleen:
Maybe we should do a old locomotive picture, drawing like that one.
Joe: Sometime, but…
Colleen: I bet a train collector would like it.
Joe: There aren't any around anymore.
Colleen: Oh, sure. I bet you there's people that collect trains.
((NATS/MUSIC))
((Joe Baker

Artist))
I started my website like after when I finished and was done with high school. It was like the year of 2019 to 2020. Artfully Joe, it's called now.
((Colleen Baker
Joe’s mother))
I had Joe home for about a year before we started Artfully Joe. And, you know, we were doing things, starting a bank account and learning about different occupations and nothing really excited Joe. So, I thought, “Okay, let's take a hobby. Let's take Joe's passion which is drawing and make it a job.”
((NATS))
But Bonanza is the website where his booth is. And there's a picture of his booth.
Right now, he has about 29, 30 items, a lot of which are custom items that people can commission him to order.
((Colleen Baker
Joe’s mother))
He calls me a “momager.” So, I do a lot of those tasks that maybe he would have a little bit of difficulty with or that he really doesn’t prefer to do. He would just like be happy doing the art.
((NATS))
I help take pictures of the art and upload it to the site and usually I'll answer questions If customers have them.
((Joe Baker
Artist))
People love my flower pictures. And I've drawn a lot of
sunflowers and roses and other flowers.
((NATS))
((Colleen Baker

Joe’s mother))
These are some pieces that he's already done in various sizes. Berries and a beautiful botanical that he did.
Joe's expanded into some note cards and we did a Valentine this year. And for 2022, he did a logo, a butterfly for Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month. And he did a T-shirt also with that logo. And we did some spring insects and farm animal note cards. But this one's going to be a gift. Since this is from my parents’ garden, Joe wants to give this to them.
((NATS: Colleen and Joe))
Joe:
I feel very glad about that.
Colleen: We're all done for today. Good job.
Joe: Good job.
((NATS/MUSIC))

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