The parents are currently claiming that Candy “is the only artist who has autism and is nonverbal to have full videos of herself creating art“.
There are several things about this that are completely untrue:
The videos put out by the parents on the Facebook page are not “full videos”. They are highly edited, full of jump cuts and mystery hands in some portions. The mystery hands (that are conveniently not in the camera shots at strategic times) are making brush strokes that the child does have appear to have the motor skills or natural desire to create.
The art being created in the videos is dramatically different from the designs being marketed on Zazzle, PAOM, and other print-on-demand sites for profit. These videos are being put out apparently as an effort by the parents to somehow prove that Candy is actually making the art that is being branded as hers. Therefore, when people comment and ask to see videos as some sort of validation, these videos are offered as “proof”, despite the quality of the art being completely different than what’s being sold. Bait and switch.
Candy is definitely not the only artist with autism or other neurological differences to have videos of themselves creating art. A simple search on Google or YouTube will reveal many people of various ages, some non-verbal and profoundly affected by autism who are painting or drawing. Many are children or young adults. The parents’ claim that Candy is the only one out there with videos is utter nonsense.
The caption in this video screenshot says that Candy is “doing what she loves”. The video shows a child who appears conditionally trained or pressured, likely with food as a motivation reward, to paint on command and not as a natural desire. It may be true, hopefully, that the child at least partially enjoys some of the process as a sensory activity. But all of the videos put out this year show a child who is looking up periodically for approval or being directed in what to do, and not engaged in the process. Some videos have shown Candy stopping the painting halfway through and making the ASL sign for “eat”. A video published December 1, 2016 shows Candy pushing the paper away at the end and immediately grabbing a plastic box filled with food once her task is completed.
Almost all of the videos are edited to have music dubbed over spontaneous and naturally occurring voices in the moment, which also strategically hides the verbal directions being given by the parents.
This is not a contest. There is no valuable exclusivity in being “the only one” who paints dots and smears on video and can’t speak. That is the kind of thing that is said when marketing or at a carnival sideshow attraction to sucker customers to get attention. There is no need or merit in comparing your child to others unless you have an ulterior motive. Just be proud of who they are and what they can do as their own person. Stop interfering with their process if they want to paint. This is not raising awareness for autism in a productive or meaningful way. It’s strictly self-promotion.
In all of the videos, a finished painting is typically shown at the end through editing that has clearly been embellished later with extra strokes and dots to shape Candy’s original stripes, dots, and smears into something more recognizable like an animal or a person. This is not Candy painting on her own. Through all of the videos published, Candy has never appeared motivated to paint in a representational manner at all; It has always been single-color dots, smears, and lines. Videos of Candy have never once shown the circles, fine details, multi-color brush loading, feather strokes, or representational plants, suns, and animals, which are shown in the Zazzle art. The extra strokes and dots are the parents, adding to the paintings in an unnatural and dishonest way. If the parents were actually proud of their child’s art, they would leave it alone and not manipulate it into something it is not simply for the sake of getting attention and compliments on a Facebook page. If Candy really wants to paint, she should be given the tools to do it without interference, food motivation, or ableist expectations of a final product. If your child paints a blob, let it be a blob and be proud of them. Don’t add feather strokes and extra lines and dots. It clearly proves that the Waters don’t accept Candy’s art as it is and desire for it to be something different than what she made. That is not real parenting. It is manufacturing and dishonesty.