The Art of Autism

Autism is gaining increased public attention thanks, in part, to the work of Debra Hosseini and the exhibitions she has designed to bring focus to some of the extraordinary artwork being done by artists challenged with autism and to serve as a resource to assist those artists in pursuing their artistic endeavors. We are happy to host this work at Seven Sisters Gallery in Morro Bay from May 12-April 7.

One of those artists, who will be exhibiting his pieces in the current show, is Jason Cantu. We asked Jason to say a little about one of his marvelous pen and ink drawings, “All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace a Chance.” Here’s what he had to say:

All We Are Saying Is Give Peace A Chance 11x14 by Jason Cantu - printThe original version of the picture that you see here was a pen and ink drawing; the artwork is called “All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace a Chance”, based on the 1969 John Lennon hit song of the same name. My picture is an interpretation of an acrylic painting done by Charlene Chauvaux, who was a good friend of our family. Charlene made a painting of a white dove against a blue sky, to symbolize her feelings of thankfulness that the Vietnam War had ended, and peace had finally come. When Charlene passed away recently, we inherited her painting as a gift from her family. My original interpretation of the painting was made as a birthday gift for my dad; he was having back problems at the time. I made my drawing as my way of giving him a symbol of peaceful healing, protection, and a symbol that would keep him safe.

Although this picture only took me an hour to actually draw it, the picture is actually a culmination of hours of thorough preparation, determination, and good, hard work. The degree of the different areas of darkness in my picture; is achieved by how often and/or how hard I drew the picture, in order to symbolize the feathered texture of the dove.

The areas in which the ink is the heaviest, is where the shadows fell the most heavily on the dove; the areas in which the ink is lighter, is where the sunlight shines the most brightly on the dove.

When I looked at the dove, I was visualizing a bird; frozen in flight as though it had been captured in a photograph at an exact moment in time. I drew motion lines around the bird to simulate that the bird had been moving and/or was going to keep moving even though it was on a drawing.

In all my drawings/paintings that I have made over years of practice, I have made a habit of choosing to make pictures of subjects that interest me. The painting of a dove really interested me, and I wanted to draw what I was seeing. I feel that I have a real talent for making art, and as long as there are people who are interested in what I make, I will continue to make art. I like to make art that other people find interesting; that’s why I’m an artist.

Jason Cantu will be showing his work at Seven Sisters Gallery, from April 12-May 7, as part of our new exhibit, “A Spectrum of Music-Art”, which features the art of artists on the autism spectrum. You can also find his work at

Seven Sisters Gallery is located at: 601 Embarcadero # 8, Morro Bay, CA
For more information Call us at: (805) 772-9955

7 thoughts on “The Art of Autism

  1. Shawn Bostrom

    Jason’s sweet heart shines through in his work! And he’s not just an artist on the autism spectrum–he’s AN ARTIST! He’s been a joy to me his whole life and one time I told him, that if they found a cure for autism and we could go back in time and prevent it–that I didn’t think I would choose to do that, because I’d fear it might make him into a different person than he is today….and he thought about it a bit and said, “You know, mom, I don’t think I would either”. He’s so honest and forthright–“Authentic” is the best word to describe him and it makes me ponder over how both “authentic” and “autism” start with “aut” (couldn’t find a Latin root–but I still find it ironic!)
    Anyway, Jason is not only a great artist–he’s my “rock” and I love him to infinity and beyond!
    ~his LUCKY mom, Shawn, (Store Manager at Seven Sisters Gallery)

    1. SevenSistersGalleryCa Post author

      Thanks for sharing Shawn. He absolutely is an artist first and foremost. We’re so happy to be carrying his work online now. And as you say, aside from his art, he’s an amazing man. And YOU are an amazing mother! Truly.

      1. Shawn Bostrom

        Well…thanx for that….but …he’s so awesome that I feel he’s contributed more to my life than i his….(and I’ll admit to going the extra mile for sure–so that says ALOT for him!)
        And his art is such a wonderful reflection of his Spirit.

      1. Shawn Bostrom

        wow…I missed those meanings in my quick search. That’s awesome…thanx for sharing that. I have thought, first from my life with Jason–and then from my association with various groups that Jason is involved in that help people on the autism spectrum–that whereas generally speaking, society looks on autism as a deficit–I think it’s the “gold” among us. I never appreciate humanity as much as i do when i’m with him and with, for instance, his Adventure Club group that makes movies. I realize watching them make their movies how incredibly talented they are and how much they have to offer…and how “natural” they are–more natural than i am! Whereas I stumble over what i think others will think…they just flow right into their parts and improvise so…AUthentically! It’s such a joy to be with them…and I’m not meaning to “profile” here. I just mean to say, I’m so inspired and hopeful for the world when I’m with Jason and with the Adventure Club group….PURE GOLD showing us the GLOW OF SUNRISE! –luvit!

  2. Ann

    Jason, your drawing is lovely. I’m so glad you’re going to be part of the show at Seven Sisters Gallery. The work Debra Hosseini is doing to bring the work of these young artists to public attention via her two books and with these specially curated exhibitions, is outstanding. I look forward to the opening tonight and hope if anyone reading this who is near Morro Bay, come by from 5-7 pm. and see the exhibition and meet some of the artists.


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