“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away”                          Henry David Thoreau

It Started with a Leaf…

About the artist:

        Garrison Mais is a seventeen year old boy who lives with his parents, Amy and Joe. He has an older sister, Lauren, and an older brother, Bryant. Garrison has many talents: swimming, biking, hiking, and  has recently taken an interest in playing basketball, but hiking is his absolute favorite thing to do.  He volunteers  as a park steward for the Phoenix Mountain Preserves, collecting trash to help beautify the trails. He also takes tremendous pride in volunteering in the Reading Room at the North Mountain Visitor's Center. Currently he is the  "Spotlight Volunteer".  In the summer of 2012, he hiked to the top of Humphrey’s Peak (the tallest peak in Arizona!) However, Garrison is most passionate about creating beautiful pieces of art.

     Garrison was diagnosed with profound infantile autism when he was eighteen months old. He faced extraordinary challenges every moment of his early childhood. He still faces many adversities, but he has learned to cope with what is thrown his way. His mom and speech therapist, Dinah, often call him the “gentle giant.” He is tall, handsome, loving,  sweet, and he lights up a room when he walks in the door.

Garrison has participated in The Sunnyslope Art Walk five times, had his art in in the 411 Gallery (ASU Downtown), and exhibited in the Autism Zoo Walk, Autism Conferences of America, and AZA United Conferences. He has been invited to many shows and has had to create a wait list for his art! His art is featured in the Teen Zine Magazine at the Phoenix Public Library. He also has art on sale at Write Ons, Etc. Stationery and Gift Store in North Central Phoenix.

For many individuals with autism, it is very common to have one or more self stimulatory behaviors, often called “stims.”  One of Garrison’s “stimming” behaviors is rolling or twisting papers, leaves, or wrappers. For years, we tried to alleviate this “stimming” behavior……until we noticed the true beauty of this “stim.” 

**Garrison donates a percentage from the earnings of his artwork to Save Our Mountains Foundation at the North Mountain Visitor Center. This is the perfect opportunity for Gar to give back to something that has been a part of his daily life since he was four years old. He also donates to a variety of charities throughout the valley.

Special thanks go to the people who have touched Garrison’s life in some way during his journey: Amy and Joe, Lauren, Bryant, Janey Castoe,Joey Bogart, Dinah Jones, Nick Kush, Dominique Caruso, Jim and Carol Loula, Dr. Craig Carter, Robb Cason, Steven Oleksak, Chris Pettit, The Castoe Family, The Bogart Family, The Valenzuela Family, Pam Watts, The Appelbe Family, The Badoux Family, The Shear Family, The Petrillo Family, Becky,Jake, Seth, and Joe-Joe, Sarai, Dezmon, Shauma, Dulce, Iram, Christen, Ti, Justin, Dakota, Robert, the Walgreen’s photo clerk, Search to Serve, The Musgrove Family, Jerry and Amy Walker, SFXAA, Miss Sally, Cactus Wren Grade School, AJ’s on 7th Street, The Phoenix Mountain Preserve, the lovely people who hike the mountains, ASA- Phoenix Chapter, St. Francis Xavier Community, Dr. Alan Schneider, Dr. Spigner, Dr. Kessler, Teresa, Tina C. at Costco, Alison, Bob, Julia Watson, Kelly Kenzig, The Mais Family, The Earl Family, The Phoenix Zoo, Sprouts, Fresh and Easy, Weekday Preschool, The Arizona Science Center, Arizona Autism United, HOPE Group LLC, ASA Phoenix Chapter, The Phoenix Public Libraries, McDonald’s, Trader Joe’s, Brophy, Xavier, St Francis Xavier, SARRC, Thunderbird High School, Creative Bridges, Roseanne, Josie, Lilly, Mr. John, Priscilla, Kirstin, Brianna, Ron and Karen, Jerry Lundy and Autism Conferences of America, and Maggie!  There are too many to mention all , but you angels know who you are.

The comfort, unconditional love, and support (direct and indirect) that has been given to Garrison is so greatly appreciated and has truly made an impact on his life! 

For more information about OriginalsbyGarrison.com or if you would like to place an order,  Please contact the artist at

“For those who are willing to make an effort, great miracles and wonderful treasures are in store”       Isacc Boshexis Signer