I learned about Texas based artist Anthony Rivera after I saw a posting on facebook about this remarkable young man with a unique perspective on the world. I was blown away by the imagery that comes, not merely from paint splashed on canvas, but from miracle consciousness. He paints to different kinds of music that is more than just a backdrop for his talent. I get the sense that Anthony hears music that most of us aren’t tuned into, just as he likely sees through different lenses and experiences life through transcendent filters. Diagnosed with autism, Anthony is art incarnate. I am certain that he will become famous, beyond the Lonestar State.
This interview was a collaborative effort since Anthony is not able to type the answers to the questions I asked. His loving and devoted mother Diana Rivera posed them and his profoundly simple responses touched me deeply. Before she sent the answers, she offered background on how she and Anthony bonded and how he became the extraordinary young man that he is.
“I have to give you some background about Anthony so you can understand him better. He was almost not born because I have RH negative blood, my blood was like poison to him. In order to keep from losing him , I had to get weekly injections of antibodies so he could survive. The doctors wanted me to have an abortion because they said that IF he survived to full term, he would surely be deformed or brain damaged. I got pregnant in Germany, (my husband was in the Army), fortunately abortions were illegal at that time and by the time they were able to ship me back to the states I was way past my first trimester. He was born a month early, they could not get him to breathe. I saw them take away a blue baby. They managed to revive him and had to remove all his blood and transfuse him with new blood. The only physical deformity he was born with were two of his little toes were webbed. At six months, he got double pneumonia and 105 degree fever that lasted a week. I was told that his brain had literally been cooked and that he would be a vegetable and he would never walk or talk. A month later, his father came home from the Viet Nam war. He was on drugs or something when he came home late one night, Anthony wouldn’t stop crying because he had a fever again. His father grabbed him from my arms and threw him, he landed on the couch, had he landed on the floor he would have killed him. He kept trying to get to him but I would not let him. I managed somehow to put Anthony in a laundry basket and hid him in a closet. I pushed a dresser drawer in front of the door so his father could not get to him. He beat me for the rest of the night until he got tired and fell asleep. I was able to get to the phone to call the police right before he woke up. He broke my nose, several ribs, there was not a single inch of my body that was not bruised but I saved my baby’s life. We were taken to the hospital where I was told that my baby would not survive the night, I dropped to my knees and asked God to spare him and promised Him I would spend the rest of my life taking care of him. During the night his doctor came to me with some papers for me to sign. The doctor said I was too young(18) poor and uneducated with no marketable skills and that the best thing for ME was to give my son to the state. I refused. Anthony survived that and many other obstacles to get to where he is today. Together, we went on to get my GED, get a college diploma and a law degree. So you see, he is truly a walking, sort of talking miracle! He says he sees and talks to angels and that he can fly. I do not doubt that he can. He is pure love and joy.”
I had asked how he lives his bliss:
“He doesn’t understand conceptually what bliss is, he just stared at me with his puppy dog eyes. He is in a constant state bliss.
I asked about his remarkable artistic abilities:
“I always like to paint, my momma took me to STC 3 years ago. I love to paint.”
What brings you joy?
“My music and my angels.”
What is your favorite music?
“All kinds (we are listening to Willie Nelson as I write this) ACDC, Willie Nelson, Elvis, Andrea Bocelli, Sarah Mclachlan the Beatles, the Eagles, Chicago, all Oldies, Frank Sinatra, BB King. He has over a thousand CDs, most are as old as when they started making CDs.”
Anything else you want to share?
“I love fishing and shopping and Red Lobster and my momma.”
Watch this amazing video of Anthony’s beauty and wonder
He welcomes connection on facebook as well under: Antony Rivera artist and his mother is Diana Rivera. Please friend both of them if his work interests you. To see more of Anthony’s creations, go to: www.anthonyriveragallery.com