It comes as a very special addition to Steven’s most famous collection – the herd of characterful highland cows known to fans as ‘McCoos’. Using Steven’s iconic technique of vibrant and powerful colour and individual strokes, the piece aims to help people to understand autism and Tommy’s story.
From the infinity symbol on Tommy’s cap which represents autism for so many, down to necklace ‘stim’ and the use of the National Autistic Society colours, Tommy McCoo signifies the importance of increasing public understanding of autism and the different journey of each autistic person and family. The addition of ‘Pugz McDug’ is a nod to the real Tommy who adores animals, especially the family pug.
Friends for many years, Sam & Steven originally had the idea of doing an original commission for Tommy. Sam explains, “After chatting with Steven about Tommy and how much we as a family love his art, I asked him if he would do a piece for Tommy. As the idea grew, so did my involvement with the National Autistic Society and they were keen to be involved with the project to shine a light on the issues affecting autistic people and their families.”
“I couldn’t be happier with the final piece. Tommy absolutely loves it and I hope it can provide a symbol for other children and families dealing with issues facing autistic people like we have.”
Talking of his latest piece and the partnership Steven comments ”I am absolutely delighted to be partnering with my good friend Sam Bailey and the National Autistic Society to celebrate Tommy’s journey and improve understanding of autism and funds for autistic children and their families. This subject is very close to my heart and am proud to commission a piece of my art to play my part in making a difference to the autistic community. I really hope I’ve created something in Tommy McCoo that people can relate to, help wider understanding and help anyone who needs it get support and guidance. If Tommy McCoo can help just one child and their family then it has achieved its purpose.”
Caroline Stevens, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society, said: "We're delighted to partner with Sam Bailey and Steven Brown on this fantastic project.
"This painting is deeply personal and is inspired by Tommy, Sam's 12-year-old son who is autistic. We hope it will get people talking about autism and understanding more about what it's like to be autistic - both the strengths and the challenges you can face too.
"Like many charities, we've been hit hard financially by coronavirus. So Sam and Steven's support means even more at the moment. It will help us continue our vital work providing information, advice and help to autistic people and their families - and campaigning for better support and services.”
Also – look out for the ‘heart in the art’ hidden somewhere in the design…can you find it?