Note: Justin's display about autism in the family tells a story that starts around the time his son was born--before any Suspicion arose. This work depicts the love of a mother whose affection is also apparent in more recent paintings. The child in the image, "Lobos", was diagnosed at age three.
Note: While all the artwork in "On the Outskirts of Autism" is really good, this is the one that I thought stood out as the Masterpiece. Hopefully, it will be someday be considered a classic in terms of autism-themed artwork. Justin said this painting is a personal favorite. It's definitely a favorite of mine too. Here are a few words from the artist about the moments that inspired Suspicion:
"My son was about 2 and a half when the painting was inspired. At first, as most parents, you think that your child is just being individual. This was a private home daycare. He wasn't really speaking at the time, and the worker had told us not to worry, she had seen shy children before.
As more time passed, the clues were becoming more evident. This image was basically the final straw before the first doctor's appointment was made. It is basically a snapshot of me coming to pick him up. The other children (some younger, some older) were all playing together. My son was in the corner, mesmerized by spinning the wheels of an upside down truck. He was oblivious to the other children, and my calls to him."
Justin had a gallery exhibit featuring On the Outskirts of Autism from May to June 2009 in his hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Please check out the whole show on You Tube as seen below. It's definitely worth your time as the collection of artwork tells a heartfelt story of a family of four (Lobos has an older brother who is not on the autism spectrum). Two demos of Justin's songs, Sail On and Home accompany the display.
My Thoughts: I only occasionally come across the opportunity (here are one or two more examples) to write about one of my favorite topics, art and/or artists, on this blog so I was thrilled when I met a painter who has depicted autism in some of his work. As a parent of an eleven-year-old son with autism, I'm sometimes amazed at where I meet other parents of children on the autism spectrum--especially when I do not have my two children in tow. A week ago, Justin Waterman, a talented artist and musician showed up on my virtual (online) doorstep.
We met playing Lex, a Scrabble-like game, on Facebook. I hosted a game one evening, not knowing who was going to show up. (The name and photo of the opponent appears unless the player opts for a privacy setting.) I was a little surprised when someone who looks a little bit like a rock star appeared. "Who is this guy?," I thought. Thank goodness for the chat option on the game as I am, by nature, very curious. It didn't take long to figure out that we each had a son with autism and a website (please see link in above paragraph--this website also features artwork and music that are unrelated to autism).
Anyway, I'd like to wish the best of luck to Justin and his family as they sail down the river of life with autism. I'm hoping to follow up on this post by blogging about other creative dads who have children with autism spectrum disorder. The next post will probably appear Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. If you have any suggestions for posts on this topic, please email me. Thank you.