HomeableismIs Candy Waters’s Art a Scam?

Title image - Dark blue background with the following words in a lighter blue font "Is Candy Waters's Art a Scam?"

A few months ago, I made the mistake of sharing an article about Candy Waters. She’s a young, nonverbal girl with autism who expresses herself through paintings, which her parents then sell prints of online.

I say it’s a mistake, because I’ve gotten a few messages from people who believe the paintings sold aren’t really being done by her. So, I’ve been slowly making my way through what I could find.

Because dyslexia slows my reading down and I’ve been juggling things in my personal life, I haven’t been able to dedicate a whole lot of energy to this until recently.

I had liked Candy’s Facebook page shortly after discovering the initial article I’d and unliked it shortly thereafter. At the time, it had strictly been used to publicize the Zazzle store selling Candy’s prints. Since there’s no point to scrolling through the spam on my feed, I moved on.

I’ll freely admit that I’m no social media maven, but that page was exceptionally poorly run. To be fair to the Waters, it takes a while to get those skills down. To be fair to me, I have finite energy to spend on looking at ads.

Around the same time, the author of the Candy Waters Autism Art – SCAM? blog contacted me. That’s when I started to wonder about the art’s validity.

There is speculation that Candy didn’t actually make the pictures herself, with opinions from various professionals to back it up. After looking at the linked videos, and reading the responses from her parents, I can see value in the skepticism.

On the other hand, the only videos I’ve seen were over a year old. If I’ve learned anything from my friends with autism and those who have kiddos on the spectrum, it’s that folks with ASD build upon their skills, just as alistic folks do.

Could she have made some of the paintings? Maybe. Did she make all of them? I have my doubts.

Her parents have recently begun posting pictures of her painting, perhaps in an attempt to verify authenticity. It’s also important to remember how easy it is to generate deceptive photos. When I used to sell my handmade goodies online, I learned quite a bit about how much of a difference posing makes in selling a product.

The same goes for photos “proving” validity.

What Bothers Me the Most

The worst thing I’ve seen is how her parents have been conducting themselves. Once I checked into various links and posts, I’ve seen them do the following:

  • Threaten legal action against people pushing for proof of validity
  • Expose personal information of those who don’t believe their claims
  • Pose as doctors

There are more than enough personal accounts of them harassing those who comment on the linked blog or ask questions that I no longer doubt they cope with requests for verification through bullying and intimidation.

I also find it incredibly troubling that they seem to be doing the same thing with their son’s art, now. They’ve even set a Zazzle page up for him.

Would I go so far as to call them a scam? I don’t know for certain. They could be, but there’s not enough evidence for me to go quite that far, yet.

Whether they’re a scam or not, the parents’ conduct has completely turned me off from giving them any sort of support, which is why I’m not linking to any of their pages. They have been engaging in what at best are questionable practices. At worst, they’re damaging the hard work real autism advocates are doing.

Bear in mind, these are my personal opinions. I’m not trying to convince anyone else of which actions to take, but I do feel as if I should share my thoughts.

I encourage each of you to look at both sides of the story and come up with your own conclusions.

Edit: It looks like the same old trolls who’ve been plaguing other posts questioning the authenticity of this art have found the entry. As I have a zero tolerance bullying/flame war policy on this blog, I’ve turned off comments on this entry and blacklisted the troll in question.

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Comments

Is Candy Waters’s Art a Scam? — 11 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this.
    I run the Candy Waters autism artist boycott group and page. I originally started with the page and I believe they reported just about everything on it so we went with a group. We left the page up to direct people to the group.

    • No problem. They seem like the types of people who would go on reporting sprees. I didn’t hashtag them or anything, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I eventually see something from them.

    • I tried to join your private group. I am sure I will be among those the waters blast. She is now joining the coloring therapy groups. This really makes me mad as those of us in these groups have already been through enough trama. I reported her to admin but haven’t gotten a response. And I can’t remove her myself. There is no way all that art is that childs. I know as I draw, color, paint myself and come from a family full of professional artists. The videos of her actually painting prove alot of those paintings are not hers.

      • Forgive the belated response. I’ve been ridiculously busy, and just now getting back into the swing of things.

        But that’s horrible. I’m not at all surprised her parents are targeting those groups. Those people seem to have no decency or concept of caring for others.

  2. I am in quite a few fb groups, for medical needs of my own and her posts always show up… even in my sisters due date club! really? Clearly she doesn’t have all these medical problems, how can you be menopausal with menopausal symptoms and treatments yet, due with a baby in 2 months?? I report them… Admin blocks them, but they find their way back, using various names, sandy vs sandra… finally today I had enough and searched her name in google, what a surprise I’m not the only one who is annoyed by her.

    • Ugh…she sounds worse than telemarketers. That seems to be her style of advertisement. It’s disgusting how she targets groups where people go to get help with life changing conditions.

  3. The mother has her own blog here
    Candywatersautismartist.wordpress.com

    It’s a bit ridiculous if you ask me. If my child was being bullied I would go to the police, not make a blog about it.

    • Wow…not much of a blog. It’s pretty much the exact same thing she says in comments with back-links to the FB page. Not sure why anyone would bother following it.

  4. I first saw the art work said to be Candy’s work earlier this year. The pic of Candy was a little girl. Then a month goes by and Candy had aged by several years. Next the video of her supposedly painting but yet not really doing anything. Then the merchandising started. it took all this to make me question the validity of what was happening. I feel violated in some way just as if I had been raped. I thought what was happening was a good thing. The pics of her brother shows a child under submission and fearful. These children should be removed from their unhealthy environment as soon as possible.

    • Forgive the belated response. I’ve been ridiculously busy, and just now getting back into the swing of things.

      As time passed, I’ve grown more and more convinced that her parents are pulling a scam and victimizing their own kids along the way. It really is a violation of all who want to spread the positive, realistic side of autism awareness and those who want to support autistic artists.

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