Meet 22 year Old Artist Betsy Who Made Her Way to The New York Times

Meet 22 year Old Artist Betsy Who Made Her Way to The New York Times

It was just four years back when Betsy Jenifer got to know that she had Asperger’s Syndrome, due to which she was not able to communicate and socialise with others properly. Struggling to express her feelings, Betsy chose art as a form of escape. Despite being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at 16, today, Betsy’s paintings and written works have found their way to renowned international publications such as The New York Times, Élan Literary Magazine, Alexandria Quarterly and After the Pause. SURFACES REPORTER (SR) shares the inspiring journey of the young woman who overcame obstacles with her indomitable spirit and became a published author and artist even with a Asperger's syndrome.

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Betsy, who hails from Vellore, Tamil Nadu, found it difficult to talk with people and socialise and therefore, she had to be homeschooled. Today, she is a final year literature student at Women’s Christian College, Chennai (WCC) and a proficient artist, painter and author whose works have been published in various globally renowned publications.

Combating The ‘Ordinary’ World

Betsy Jennifer did not have a childhood like any of the children of her age would have.

"I actually could not speak English till I was in class 8, and I was made fun of by peers. Even my teachers made fun of me. That stayed with me,” she said.
Asphalt_Jungle-Beautiful Art Paintings DesignsAsphalt Jungle

“I forced myself to watch English movies even if I didn’t understand anything. I went to the school library and started reading comics and The Secrets of Droon when I was in primary school and moved on to Harry Potter later. Rowling was a god-send,” she said.

Also Read: Success & Survival: How A Women Dared To Grow In The Lockdown

Traditions-Beautiful Art Paintings DesignsTraditions
“Once I started writing, I had no one to read through my work, edit or provide suggestions. I did not even have acquaintances who wanted to really help me with my creative endeavours. All I had was the internet, and it was my only window into the rest of the world,” she continued. Her maximum works revolve around semi-autobiographical psychological drama, but she has also attempted dark humour and horror.

She was not aware of her condition until she reaches at her 16.  She said, “Until then, my parents didn’t understand why I was the way I was.

Dip_into_the_universe-Beautiful Art Paintings DesignsDip into the Universe

Life was moving at a slow pace. And it took many years for her to understand that she could not let the disorder bind her to one place.

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Her parents became more accommodating. Her psychiatrist also informed and helped her understand that she is as efficient as the other people around her by realising that it is not a disorder but a “neurodevelopmental condition”. Her psychiatrist also told her that everyone’s experience with the syndrome is different.  Although it falls under the same scale of autism, it is on the reverse side of it.

Asperger Syndrome is a condition that makes the individual look at the world differently. However, her schoolteachers and class fellows did not know that.

Unusual Art Paintings

Betsy began drawing and sketching when she was just 5 years old. She did not take any art lessons but started like every kid- with crayons on the phone books, walls and papers. She also participated in many school painting competitions but never won anything. But it did not stop her from sketching and painting. 

Also Read: This Woman Transformed the Future of a Village with the power of Education | Mumbai | Wade Asia Special | Women Architects

in-my-headIn my head

“Art was my escape. I was never good at talking. When I talk, I can’t find the right words to say, so I taught myself how to paint with colours and words.” When it comes to art, Betsy enjoys oil paintings and watercolours. However, she has also tried her hand at charcoal sketches and digital illustrations.

Talking about her paintings, Betsy said, “Most of my paintings are merely out of my imagination. They are not carefully planned out or factual. “Traditions” is one such painting which I simply painted. When I am asked what I am trying to say through it or what it means, I don’t really know. But, in retrospect, I am able to read something about myself of the past in them.”

lady-natureLady Nature

Betsy believes that because of her condition, she is able to imagine something different which ordinary people can’t. “My perspectives and perceptions differ, sometimes vastly from others, and because of this, I can form unique patterns in my mind and create interesting pieces of art,” she said.

Also Read: Roti and Makaan; How this woman turned it into her passion | Delhi | Wade Asia Special | Women Architects

She also loves drawing cityscapes with vibrant buildings. “I have particularly loved cartoons like “Chowder” and “Foster’s home for imaginary friends” due to their imaginative illustrations of buildings. This definitely kindled my imagination, toward detailed and meticulous drawing, “said the artist.

A Creative Writer

Betsy not only paints but she has also authored a novel that has published on NaNoWriMo, an online creative writing platform. Her written works have also been published in various other publications such as Sugar Rascals, Teen Ink, Polyphony H.S., Sprout and Canvas literary journal.


Putting her work for others to examine aided her to take rejections less seriously. "For most of my life, I have been used to feeling that I am not talented or good enough. But, through submitting my work to different publications, and sometimes being appreciated for my work, I learnt that I was a quick learner and that I could, indeed, be good enough for many things,” she said.

Also Read: This Woman Dared to Go on A Journey Towards A New Niche | Vadodara | Wade Asia Special | Women Architects

The 20-year-old Betsy who was thinking herself not competent or talented enough for the world, has proved with her extraordinary paintings and works that being “different” from others is a mere perception.

Info Courtesies: thebetterindia and edexlive

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