Hidden meaning in artwork of man with autism | Keeping the Faith

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- From flowers to family to storms and shadows, even Mona Lisa - It all comes from the mind of Derrick Freeman.

"Derrick was diagnosed at the age of 3 with autism," said his mom, Angela Hunter Freeman.

He withdrew from reality into a world of his own.

"When he stopped talking, he would just draw constantly, 30 to 40 pictures a day," said Angela Hunter Freeman.

Doctors say Derrick Freeman's mental capacity is of a 6-year-old, but those same doctors also describe him as a savant. They say he demonstrates profound abilities far in excess of what is normal.

Derrick Freeman is happy drawing flowers with bright colors, but in many of his works, there's a much deeper meaning. You just have to know where to look.

"This piece is called reflections and right in here you can see faces," said Angela Freeman. "I'm claiming it to be Jesus, I definitely am, because we are believers, and we live by faith."

"Being a mom and having a son, God knows that and looking at how man sees individuals with any type of disability, I just put my faith and trust in the Lord and said whatever Derrick has, he got it from you and let his art be a blessing to others," said Angela Freeman.

Angela has set up a 5013(c) charity called "Our Place Art" to help those with special needs. In 2012 Derrick designed a Christmas ornament for Governor Bill Haslam for the capitol tree.

If you would like to contact Derrick or his mom, you can find them at the website attached to this story.