Artist with Autism is helping raise awareness

Artist creates Phillip's Wild Africa

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -  

A Bakersfield teen who is living with autism is using his talent and love for animals to raise awareness on the disorder impacting many people across the country.

Parents of this young artist hope to secure his future by sharing his drawings and all the knowledge of the animals he's grown to know.

Phillip Press loves telling people about his large collection of African animal DVD’s.

While the images in the video inspire his work, the stories behind each wild animal give him more of an appreciation for life.

"I just like to share what I learned and stuff," he said.

Press can relate to the animals he draws as they give him an outlet, breaking the borders of autism and bringing him hope.

"My favorite African big cat is the lion because they are the only big cats that live in groups.  I like the females better than the males because I like how they do the hunting in the wild and another reason too is they look after each other’s cubs," he said.

Through his website Phillip's Wild Africa he's showing people that having autism isn't the end of the world.

"Because of the autism, they don't understand human emotion and everything has to be taught to them where as we pick up behaviors from people, and how they are receiving us, they don't," said Rebecca Press, Phillip’s mother.

It can take press about nine days to finish a project.  Some of his art work has already been purchased by an international artist, which family says is sending a strong message.

"You never give up,” she said.

Press is focused on his art and taking it one day at a time.

Phillip Press is preparing to enter his work in the San Mateo Fair this summer and other art shows around California next year.

Click here for more information on Phillip's Wild Africa

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