To observe Niam Jain in his painting process is to immerse into an experience enveloped by music. Niam is a young visual artist living and working in Toronto. He works in the medium of acrylics in the style of modern abstract impressionism. But unlike most artists, Niam is a person with autism, and, is mostly non-verbal.
Music has always been part of life in the Jain household.
Niam’s work is, as such, a peek into his world. According to his mother Nina, who also happens to be his assistant in the studio, says that her son is always listening to music when he paints. Niam is also a passionate fan of musicals, both stage performances, and films. Like most young adults, Niam was raised on the films of the Disney musical renaissance.
These films of course fueled his passions. Nina, always in tune with her son’s mood sums up his love the genre and how it influences his art.
“He likes the music and the colourful sets and the dancing. He always has a smile. The shoes inspire him to paint. Niam paints what he feels and sees. Music inspires him to use colour movement and rhythm in his paintings. While he watches and listens he is taking in every sound, every colour every emotion, that come through in layers in his paintings.”
Niam incorporates the visuals of this performances as well as the soundscapes into every movement of acrylic in his art. It is not just musicals that influence his art either. Niam is also a prodigious fan of music, both contemporary and classical. His more modern tastes are biased toward rock and range from the jam-band sounds of The Grateful Dead, to the iconic pop songs of Elton John.
Niam’s favourite decade for music however is the 1980’s. Duran Duran, U2, The Cure, and Sting. The New Wave era of 1980’s sound is a defining soundscape that weaves its way into every piece of art painted by Niam. Satellite radio stations set to that era often fill Niam’s studio with music as he paints.
While Niam is mostly non-verbal, he has spent three hours a week for the past several years taking singing lessons. This has given him the ability to sing a few of his favourite Beatles songs in his own key and range. Accompanied by his brother Rohan, in his rendition of Love Me Do, in the video below, it is clear that music for Niam is an expression of his love, and an invitation into his world full of love.