Art, for Patti Gay, has rarely been a solitary pursuit.
During her career as an illustrator and art director, working on everything from greeting cards to children's books, Patti always took pleasure in collaborating with a team to create the right image.
It is Patti's latest collaboration, though, that has become her favorite. That's because her artistic co-creator is her 22-year-old, nonverbal autistic son, Noah.
"There’s a beauty in what he does and who he is," Patti says, "and I want that to be seen."
Ever since Noah was a little boy, art therapy was part of his daily life. Patti made sure of it. She could tell that Noah enjoyed the sensations, textures, and colors that came with painting with his fingers, rollers, and sponges.
And Patti always loved the result. She often thought of framing his works as-is. It wasn't until two years ago, though, Patti came up with an ingenious way for the two of them to work together.
"I looked at his (paintings) and thought, this would be cool to use in my sketches."
Patti then began scanning hundreds of Noah's art works into her computer. She would then create brand new images, of birds, animals, and beach scenes, using nothing but Noah's work as her pallet.
"These pieces would not happen without him," Patti says, "and I think I’ve taken his work and made it into something else. Something I love."
Something others seem to love as well.
Patti began sending their Two Can artwork to manufacturers to see if anyone would be interested in licensing their work. They were.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of their Two Can products will go to support autism causes.
Other products featuring the Two Can artwork are in the pipeline as well.
"I am thrilled," Patti says. "To go and see his textures on these pieces is so rewarding.To know they are giving back to the community makes me so happy that it made me cry."