Meet the artist: Candy Waters

*Please note: The production and publication of Candace Waters’ personal artwork has no affiliation with Easter Seals.

Since I’ve started working at Easter Seals, I have seen time and time again the miracle and joy of the human experience on sheets of paper, canvas, blog posts and news articles that cross my inbox. They all share a desire to express and talk in their own way. Indeed, many artists have expressed that painting is poetry and poetry is painting, but with words.

Candy's Mr. Sun on the cover of UC Irvine's magazineToday’s post is the first in our “Meet the Artist” blog mini-series, and I am pleased to introduce one very talented girl in our “Meet The Artist” blog mini-series who paints pure poetry.

Candace Waters, or as she is fondly called, “Candy,” was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) when she was two years old and reverted from toddler speech to saying virtually nothing at all. It was a devastating diagnosis to receive, her parents admitted, and there just wasn’t a lot of information out there about the disorder back then.

They worked to connect with their daughter over music, and Candy’s father, Robert even wrote a song about her that is now used at many autism centers, including Candy’s school, Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago’s Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research.

“When words fail, music and art speak,” Sandy Waters, Candy’s mother, says. “Music and art is a must for autism.” Music is a wonderful way to connect with children, disability or no. And while Candy may not sing along with the rest of the family, she is still singing in her own way. Candy uses a different language to “talk” and “sing.” She doesn’t use words. She talks with a pencil or brush. It’s a more visual language.

Candy’s artwork has been featured on several Chicago news segments, including one on WCIU TV and another on Fox Chicago News.

Look at the pieces Candy has created, and you can almost hear her happily chatting away. Each song she has sung is captured in a painting of a warm sun or high balloon. Candy’s artwork sells in galleries for between $500 and $800, and half of the proceeds go to charities that help people with autism.


 

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  1. Barry James Says:

    Dear Dr Gatto. Thank you for your input on this matter. Cindy is without a doubt a very special girl with many wonderful gifts and talents. I’ll even wager she has more medical training than you do as you are obviously as much of a fake as this the art you are commenting on. Very kind of you to go to the effort of lying to enable this girl’s con artist parents to continue their fraud in the name of autism awareness. I’m sure it’s appreciated. Carry on with your deception. Regards.


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  3. Renee Says:

    Why insist on continuing the lie. Your family collaborative work could be sold and loved just as much. A family connection made through the shared experience. But the lies and deception have made you look like abusive and dishonest parents cashing in on the community who loves to support a disabled child. But let her be known for her own honest abilities. Stop the act! And stop saying we’re all one person. There’s thousands of us who KNOW it’s an exploitation scam


  4. Tom Bat Says:

    This is to address any negative comments on this post. There is a well documented “Hate/Smear Campaign” against Candy Waters who is 16 years old, has autism, nonverbal and loves to paint. Below is a blog about this disturbing subject. Thank you
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/candy-waters-autism-artist/cyberbullinghate-campaign-against-candy-waters-autism-artist/1383360458376302/


  5. APS Foundation of America, Inc Says:

    You are hereby ordered to immediately CEASE AND DESIST your harassment and intimidation through your own and all alias names against Ms. Tina Pohlman and the APS Foundation of America, Inc. We have the right to remain free from these activities as they constitute harassment/stalking and defamation. Should you continue to pursue these activities in violation of this demand, we will not hesitate to pursue further legal action against you, including, but not limited to, civil action and/or criminal complaints.

    You are to immediately discontinue and do not at any point in the future under any circumstances do the following: speak to, contact, pursue, harass, attack, threaten, telephone (via cellular or landline), instant message, page, fax, email, follow, or stalk Ms. Pohlman or any members of the APS Foundation of America, Inc.

    Note that your behavior is a violation of Illinois Compiled Statutes Chapter 720 ILCS 5/12-7.3 – Stalking, Chapter 720 ILCS 5/12-7.4 – Aggravated Stalking, Chapter 720 ILCS 5/12-7.5 – Cyberstalking, Chapter 720 ILCS 135/1-1 – Harassment by telephone, Chapter 720 ILCS 135/1-2 – Harassment through electronic communications, Chapter 720 ILCS 135/0.01 – 135/2 – Harassing and Obscene Communications Act and Chapter 720 ILCS 135/0.01 Short Title Harassing and Obscene Communications Act. Note that your behavior is also a violation of US Federal Laws 18 USC Subsection 2265 Full Faith and Credit, 18 USC Subsection 2261A Interstate Stalking, 18 USC Subsection 875(c) Interstate Communications, 47 USC Subsection 223(a)(1)(c) Harassing Telephone Calls in Interstate Communications.

    We have reason to believe this is not your first offense and we will pursue any legal remedies available to us against you if you fail to comply with this demand.


  6. Debra Says:

    ATTN Robert and Sandra Waters aka “Tom Bat” aka “Dr Gatto”.

    You are hereby ordered to immediately CEASE AND DESIST your harassment and intimidation through your own and all alias names against Ms. Tina Polhman and the APS Foundation of America, Inc. We have the right to remain free from these activities as they constitute harassment/stalking and defamation. Should you continue to pursue these activities in violation of this demand, we will not hesitate to pursue further legal action against you, including, but not limited to, civil action and/or criminal complaints.

    You are to you immediately discontinue and do not at any point in the future under any circumstances do the following: speak to, contact, pursue, harass, attack, threaten, telephone (via cellular or landline), instant message, page, fax, email, follow, or stalk Ms. Polhman or any members of the APS Foundation of America, Inc.

    Note that your behavior is a violation of Illinois Compiled Statutes Chapter 720 ILCS 5/12-7.3 – Stalking, Chapter 720 ILCS 5/12-7.4 – Aggravated Stalking, Chapter 720 ILCS 5/12-7.5 – Cyberstalking, Chapter 720 ILCS 135/1-1 – Harassment by telephone, Chapter 720 ILCS 135/1-2 – Harassment through electronic communications, Chapter 720 ILCS 135/0.01 – 135/2 – Harassing and Obscene Communications Act and Chapter 720 ILCS 135/0.01 Short Title Harassing and Obscene Communications Act. Note that your behavior is also a violation of US Federal Laws 18 USC Subsection 2265 Full Faith and Credit, 18 USC Subsection 2261A Interstate Stalking, 18 USC Subsection 875(c) Interstate Communications, 47 USC Subsection 223(a)(1)(c) Harassing Telephone Calls in Interstate Communications.

    We have reason to believe this is not your first offense and we will pursue any legal remedies available to us against you if you fail to comply with this demand.


  7. Tom Bat Says:

    We feel it is extremely unprofessional and immature of Ms. Tina Pohlman who is the President, Executive Director, Co-Founder of the APS Foundation of America & Ms. Alice Carey to make fun, harass & discredit Candy Waters Autism Artist who is 16 years old, nonverbal and has autism and her family. Please tell Tina Pohlman & Alice Carey to stop there Cyberbullying!! Below is a link to a blog about this subject. Thank you 🙂
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/candy-waters-autism-artist/cyberbullinghate-campaign-against-candy-waters-autism-artist/1383360458376302/


  8. Anna Says:

    I would like to ask the Waters: Don’t you have any shame, ripping off people in the name of your severely Autistic daughter for the designs she never painted? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what you are doing when all one has to do is compare those designs that you sell to the videos full of edits you have made.

    You can sure put this scam behind you if you can only produce and unedited video of Candy painting an intricate design like you sell online. That’s all most of us ask of you.

    Anyhow, I can appreciate the paintings that Candy does if you don’t interfere, trying to make them look better and in some cases, a lot better.

    There are too many people that are onto your scam and it is getting out there in cyberspace big time.

    I feel so sorry for you, Candy Waters, because I know you can’t talk, read or write and you don’t have a say whatsoever over the way your parents use you for monetary gain. Candy I hope you get relief at last.


  9. Bob Forer Says:

    The posts by “Dr. Gatto” are truly amusing. A real PhD who felt that the family of an autistic child was bring harassed would post his first and last name, as well as his professional affiliations and the city and state where he works and/or resides. Moreover, people with PhD s in art do not publicLy call themselves Dr. Instead, they will use their first and last name, followed by PhD. If they have an official title such as Professor they might also include that. It doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that the posts by this Dr. Gatto were all most likely created by the parents of the child. They are certainly not the brightest folks around, as the fake posts are so transparent. This is very shameful.


  10. Tammy D Says:

    Can I just say that whilst I believe Dr Gatto is not a real person, that asking for his/her medical practise isn’t worthwhile. You can be a chiropractor and have the title Dr. You can have a doctorate in many areas not medical, including in history if you complete your doctorate thesis. I only say this because if you want to continue to unveil the scam, you have to push on with intelligence, facts and research. Because the Dr can just come back with all that information if he/she wanted to. And asking for his medical degree will do nothing of value.


  11. Timeline – Candy Waters Autism Art – SCAM? Says:

    […] Meet Dr. Gatto […]


  12. Opal Leigh Says:

    …. Where is the cyberbully? Desperate people do desperate things. That website is just, embarrassing. Posting videos of her painting only proves that she isn’t capable of what they were selling.


  13. Robert Waters Says:

    This is our response to our daughter’s Cyberbully that is harassing our family.

    https://candywatersautismartist.wordpress.com/


  14. Helen K. Says:

    There is no cyberbully. There are; however, many people questioning the legitimacy of the art Candy Waters is supposedly creating. Even more now that we can clearly see that what the child is painting is CLEARLY not what the family is selling ALL over the Internet.


  15. Miles Says:

    Who is the Cyberbully?


  16. Robert Waters Says:

    We have a cyberbully.

    https://candywatersautismartist.wordpress.com/


  17. Miranda Bailey Says:

    After questioning why the art the child is painting vs what they are selling, the Waters family deleted my comments and blocked me from commenting as well! This is clearly some sort of fraudulent scam. Clearly, it’s a ticking time bomb. They’ve incriminate themselves publicly. It’s only downhill from her for them. 🙁


  18. Heidi Says:

    I’m an artist and WAS a fan of candy’s art

    As an artist I innocently commented on her Facebook page how I would love to see a video of Candy creating. When I found out later my comment was deleted and that I was no longer able to comment on her posts , I kept thinking, WHY?
    Then it came to me that this just might be a fraud

    I see them selling on Zazzle and if this isn’t truly Candy’s work they are probably also commiting IRS fraud , not to mention the exploitation of a disabled minor.

    Let’s just how we’re wrong, but sadly I don’t think so


  19. Jacob Brease Says:

    This is a sad abuse of a special child. I hope the interstate authorities apprehend these parents and charge them with fraud.


  20. Helen K. Says:

    Wow. They posted videos of the child painting. Holy crud that child is not painting the delicate baloney *they* claim she is. What a bunch of bovine feces. Man, they probably shouldn’t have posted those videos. Lol. Wow.


  21. Myra Dole Says:

    I don’t know why this family continues to promote was is clearly not this child’s artwork. The sad part is, the world wouldn’t care what it looked like provided it was truly painted by the child with autism. Such a shame. There was so much potential for this family to make an impact on the autism community. Now it looks like they’re just frauds selling snake oil under the guise of autism. 🙁


  22. DMC Says:

    “Dr.GATTO” so you have a PHD in “art” and also practice Medicine?? Is that correct? You do know A PHD in “Art” doesn’t give you the qualifications to be a Medical Doctor, or therapist? You should have probably done alittle more research into that before you start throwing around claims to help add creditability to a story. I Would love to know where you practice, seeing I’m the Medical Field myself.


  23. Miles Says:

    “Doctor”/”Dr” Gatto, where did you study? What exactly is your accreditation? Can I speak to you by phone since you seem to devote much of your time to tracking and posting on here


  24. Helen K. Says:

    Having watched the latest videos of Candy swirling pain on a page, I am now more convinced than ever that this is a BIG, FAT SCAM. Clearly the Waters’ are getting desperate as they have just provided the police, Interstate Crimes, BBB and Attorney General with PROOF that their daughter is not truly making (Or able to make) the art they are selling. This is a disgusting abuse of the term, “Autism Art” and the parents have dug themselves into a hole. Good luck, Waters’ family. Your ship is taking on water (Pun intended) and going down. We’re beyond plugging the holes now.


  25. T. Teller Says:

    After watching the two videos posted by the Waters’ family, how can anyone actually think that this beautiful young woman is painting these pictures? Bloggers unite. It’s time to #savecandywaters.


  26. Dr. Gatto Says:

    As I said before. Do not listen this one person making up many different to seem like many. This person needs mental help. This person is extremely jealous of Candy’s amazing talent and popularity.

    Candy I have seen you paint and worked with you. I have a PhD in Art and in my professional opinion Candy is doing a great job painting and she is very talented.

    Keep up the great work Candy and family. Thank you

    Doctor Gatto


  27. PJ Says:

    Oh Easter Seals, how can you align yourself with someone that clearly has a lot of question marks associated with them? Her behavior on here is immature, as well as on the medical Facebook group I belong to. Seriously, she blocked me because I asked her if she has the same disease I have! In my opinion, you are promoting a deeply disturbed woman and it is her daughter that will suffer.


  28. Helen K. Says:

    I wish we could see a video of the child painting a piece that is for sale. Clearly what she’s been videotaped painting is not of the same caliber that is for sale. I smell fraud.


  29. Sandra Martineau Says:

    This is a new video of Candy Waters painting.
    March 16 2016.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=2ast-3-kPpo


  30. Dr. Gatto Says:

    Do not listen to these people Candy and family they are extremely jealous of Candy’s amazing talent and popularity.

    To Candy’s parents please do not send anyone a video of Candy. It is very disturbing for strangers to request a video of a child. This is very odd indeed.

    Candy I have seen you paint and worked with you. I have a PhD in Art and in my professional opinion Candy is doing a great job painting and she is very talented.

    Keep up the great work Candy and family. Thank you

    Doctor Gatto


  31. Sandy Waters Says:

    We have a stalker who posted on this thread. It’s not my style to give attention to people who cyberbully and harass people with disabilities and their families. But this person is particularly relentless and vicious. Please if you see any negative posts on this page about my daughter Candy ignore them. There are many different identities this person is using. We pray for this person and hope they get the mental help that they need.

    Faith, Love & Hope

    Sandy


  32. Roger Says:

    Stacy, thank you for answering my question.
    After watching that I do agree that the artwork that I saw for sale looks nothing like what is being painted in the video.
    Is this the only video available? Typically artists have many videos of them working and I don’t see how this is an odd request. Perhaps Iris Grace’s work would be a better option.
    Thank you.


  33. Sandy Waters Says:

    We have a stalker who posted on this thread. It’s not my style to give attention to people who cyberbully and harass people with disabilities and their families. But this person is particularly relentless and vicious. Please if you see any negative posts on this page about my daughter Candy ignore them. There are many different identities this person is using. We pray for this person and hope they get the mental help that they need.

    Faith, Love & Hope

    Sandy Waters~Candy’s Mom


  34. Kristen Says:

    Sandy you are mistaken, this is not one person like you are saying .
    There are a large grupe of individuals who believe Candy is not behind the art you push , My oldest son has autism so please don’t say I’m bullying the autistic children or community. You’ve lied on this thread posing as Dr.Gatto.
    Sandy regardless of what lies you try to use to keep your followers in the dark you can’t bully or intimate us . This will not go away until you prove the validity of the Art you sell , that’s all the public wants .


  35. Sandy Waters Says:

    We have a stalker who posted on this thread. It’s not my style to give attention to people who cyberbully and harass people with disabilities and their families. But this person is particularly relentless and vicious. Please if you see any negative posts on this page about my daughter Candy ignore them. There are many different identities this person is using. We pray for this person and hope they get the mental help that they need.

    Faith, Love & Hope

    Sandy Waters~Candy Waters Mom


  36. Stacy Says:

    Hi. I looked this up and there is a facebook page they manage.

    The video of the child is pinned to the top so that should help clear up things.

    It is illegal to impersonate a doctor if you don’t have such accreditation…


  37. Kristen Says:

    Thank Dr.Gatto ,
    With every submission to this blog you just reaffirm how bogus you are.


  38. Dr. Gatto Says:

    Do not listen to these people Candy and family they are extremely jealous of Candy’s amazing talent and popularity.

    To Candy’s parents please do not send anyone a video of Candy. It is very disturbing for strangers to request a video of a child. This is very odd indeed.

    Candy I have seen you paint and worked with you. I have a PhD in Art and in my professional opinion Candy is doing a great job painting and she is very talented.

    Keep up the great work Candy and family. Thank you

    Dr. Gatto


  39. Kristen Says:

    Ok I’m gonna say what I’m pretty sure we’re all thinking …
    STOP with the Dr. Gatto … I feel pretty confident in saying he’s made up , and I wouldn’t put anything past Sandy or Robert with the way they have handled themselves thus far…
    You neglect to address any of the reasonable questions asked .
    IF by chance there really was a “Dr.Gatto you’d be taking quit a risk with your reputation defending something that has never been proven.. that I’ve seen anyway .
    What doctor would do that ….?
    Where did you attend school ..
    Where did you receive your “PhD ”
    How is it no one else has seen this video ..? Or better yet, WHY CAN NO ONE SEE IT NOW ??


  40. CBirm Says:

    “Dr. Gatto” with a “PhD in art” (lol) could not have seen a video of Candy painting the art that is being reproduced and merchandised, because a video does not exist. If there was one, the parents would be showing it with pride to prove that their kid is really making the art.
    It doesn’t take a fake doctorate to see that it’s a scam.
    The PhD thing is pretty funny, though.


  41. Dr. Gatto Says:

    I have seen the video of Candy painting. Also, I have a PhD in Art and in my professional opinion Candy is doing great job painting.

    Keep up the great work Candy and family.

    Thank you

    Dr. Gatto


  42. Roger Says:

    Can I see the video of Candy painting? I would like to see it for myself. Please tell me where I can find it. I am interested in buying her work for our hospital’s lobby.

    Thank you.


  43. Dr. Gatto Says:

    I have seen the video of Candy painting. Also, I have a PhD in Art and in my opinion Candy is doing great job. Keep up the great work Candy and family.

    Thank you

    Dr. Gatto


  44. Amy Says:

    I’ve been reading that Candy’s work may be a scam. Where are the videos showing this girl producing the work being sold?


  45. Kristen Says:

    Dr. Gatto , I would also love to know where your practice is located , perhaps you could leave a way to contact you. Thank you.


  46. Kristen Says:

    Dear Dr.Gatto
    Could you please provide this video of Candy Waters painting ?
    Many of us have tried asking Sandy Waters her mother how she makes these painting , we would love to see Candy in action, unfortunately Sandy responded by blocking me on Facebook along with anyone else who asked to see Candy paint . https://candywatersautismartscam.wordpress.com/


  47. Dr. Gatto Says:

    I have seen the video of Candy painting. Also, I have a PhD in Art and in my opinion Candy is doing a great job.

    Thank you

    Dr. Gatto


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