Book Review

Art/Education ForeWord Review (2011)

The review by Penny Hastings from Foreword Review (screenshot below) can be accessed at:

Changing the World - One Painting at a Time by Yaniv Daniel Janson Ecosynergy Creative Softcover  (105pp) 978-1-451-54701-6

Following a painting career of less than two years, Yaniv Daniel Janson’s art was featured in nineteen exhibitions, six as a solo artist who sold seventy paintings around the world—all before his eighteenth birthday. Such a fast-rising star, and one so young, is rare in the art world.

Janson says he paints to raise awareness about the environment. Changing the World – One Painting at a Time is a visual story that uses his paintings as a backdrop for his message. Each page is a feast of color, reminiscent of Matisse. Janson calls his images “visualizing climate change.” The original media represented in the book are watercolor on canvas, acrylic on canvas, and pastel on paper. One page features a black-and-white linocut print. All artwork is titled and many include Janson’s descriptions and social messages.
Some art is comparative. For example, Fertile Lands is next to Bare Lands. Happy Flowers is on the opposite page from Sad Flowers. Janson writes, “These flowers start off small and colorful—they get whiter when…they get closer and closer to dying. I would prefer to paint happy flowers than sad ones, so let’s stop climate change now.” In his painting “Atlantis Rising,’ about climate change, he implores, “All children of the world—unite and make sure your parents know you care!!!” His passion for the environment is unequivocal.
Initially, Yaniv Daniel Janson’s family was concerned that their young artist’s success in the art world was perhaps out of sympathy because he has Aspergers’ Syndrome (high functioning autism); however, it soon became clear that his success is due to his artistic talent. Following a painting career of less than two years, Janson’s art was featured in nineteen exhibitions, six as a solo artist who sold 70 paintings around the world—all before his eighteenth birthday. Such a fast-rising star, and one so young, is rare in the art world.
Janson’s talent is recognised not only in the art world of art but with others, such as architects and urban planners, fashion designers, and environmentalists. He has already won numerous awards for his art. He works with educators, architects, researchers, designers, and artists to spread his ideas about why we need to change our behaviour now to ensure that our legacy can sustain human life.
A Teacher Resource Appendix compiled together with Dr. Annick Janson an educational psychologist and researcher, will be helpful to all teachers of art for all types of students.

An artist dream - to inspire disabled people to follow their passion.

Yaniv Janson has been recognised as a role model through the 12 art and education awards he has received. His pathway was not always clear as he battled with disabilities which he combats daily by developing a visual language through his art. The youngest artist to be invited in the NZ Academy of Fine Arts, Yaniv was recently a finalist for the 2014 Artistic Achievement Attitude Awards. His art website has more information about him as well as his resume.

When his second book Changing the World - One Painting at a Time was recognised as a valuable teacher resource by the UNESCO Asia Pacific Art-educators Hub (APAH), Yaniv donated its pdf file to the APAH, for support staff to download it for free. His motivation was to reach far and wide with staff facing a universal problem - engaging disabled youth meaningfully, whilst having to manage a whole group. Yaniv knows the transformative power of the arts, as his talent was uncovered by his teacher when he was 16 and feeling alienated from the rest of his peers. Pursuing his passion helped Yaniv transcend his disability to participate and contribute.

Now that this resource has been adopted by teachers internationally, Yaniv can focus his energy back home to work with our disabled people, as is the purpose of this project.

Increasing opportunities for disabled people to contribute via employment

Since his project has been nominated by the UNESCO, Yaniv has but one dream: follow on and engage with New Zealand Art Educators and Community builders. Pilot presentations to families, support staff and educators of children with disabilities have been very well received. They have engaged their audiences into a constructive and inspirational dialogue on what can be done immediately, with the resources at hand to engage disabled people and tap into their deep desire to participate and contribute. These presentations inspire people to take action and create change in their organisations and families.

One resource - multiple outcomes! 

At these presentations, Yaniv brings a complimentary copy of his book to leave behind for people to carry on working after his visit.

The front section of the book is inspirational to a wide range of audiences; our experience has shown that youth with disabilities connect with the colourful art and with guidance, look forward to engaging in creative activity of this kind. 

The back section of the book is a manual for people who support disabled people. It links action to pedagogical theory and explains how to engage marginalised people - such as disabled people with views of developing their careers. The Manual details how some activities build the Key Competencies that have been outlined by experts in education and social development as playing a core role in helping disabled people contribute to their communities.