Raglan artist Yaniv Janson's Europe invitation
A royal request will see Raglan artist Yaniv Janson show his paintings in Montenegro.
Janson, 25, was personally invited to a conference by the Crown Prince of Montenegro, who added him to his guest list after hearing of his work.
This year, Janson received a grant from Creative NZ to fund two trips to Europe, where he will exhibit work in Montenegro and the Unesco headquarters in Paris.
Janson began painting 10 years ago and addresses heavy issues such as climate change and poverty through brightly structured paintings, often of landscapes.
"I saw that those things are the meaning of life," he said.
He works in his parents' shed, which has been transformed into a studio crammed with tubs of colourful paint and stacks of finished paintings.
The ideas come straight from his imagination. He has no idea what the works will look like until he brings his paintbrush to canvas.
"They're always a surprise," he said.
Janson has both autism and epilepsy, which he said makes him feel different sometimes, but generally isn't a big deal.
The installation he will take to Europe, Please Do Touch, aims to break traditional boundaries between disability and art, inviting people to engage using all their senses.
Waikato Museum curator Leafa Wilson said Janson has a rare understanding of colour and composition.
"[But] his work is not just pretty pictures. He usually has some kind of intent behind his work," Wilson said.
"He's using the idea of kinesthetic art where you have to touch it to get the sensation and to get an idea of what he is feeling when he is painting it.
"He's just really committed to painting part of his language."
Wilson said people like Janson, who are on the autism spectrum, are often able to catch details and messages that others don't see.
"Their world is different. They see things quite differently."
The Raglan-based artist has won over 18 awards, participated in over 40 exhibitions and sold over 160 paintings. He is also a finalist for the 2017 Wallace Art Award - New Zealand's biggest art competition - for the third time running.
To find out more about Janson's work visit his website here.