Gabriel Sotillo  was born in Marietta, Georgia in 1996. As a child, Gabe enjoyed drawing all the time, even by using imaginary paper and pencil with his finger in the air. Gabe also had an unusual proclivity for shapes, colors, patterns and numbers; often depicting their relationships in his artwork. As it would turn out, that was not unusual for someone with autism. Gabe’s passion for art, combined with occupational and language therapies, became a great asset in helping him to focus his attention. This later would translate into success in other areas of his development.

While in school (see video on vimeo), Gabe’s art instructors praised him as being both gifted and extremely prolific. His work has won numerous awards.

Gabe Sotillo at The High Museum of Art, 2007

Gabe at 9 years old. Here he is showing his computer-animated piece, “My Favorite Place” at The High Museum of Art “Reflections” Exhibition, Atlanta Georgia, 2007.

From creating vibrant animations about colors on parade, to designing his own number characters in which all the evens are female, (because, as Gabe explains, “any number plus itself will always be even, so only evens reproduce”), Gabe’s special needs have given him an extraordinary perspective. Through his art, he is able to share these unique observations; enabling the viewer to see the world through the eyes of someone with autism. If you ask Gabe, he’ll tell you he has “artism,” and it actually helps him create and that his autism doesn’t stop him from having skills.

Currently, Gabe is illustrating his first cocreated children’s book series, called Numbers. He is represented in that effort by his cocreator, Mary Claire Branton, Artistic Director and Founder of charliesport.org. He is also producing work for his first art show. If you happen to attend, Gabe would like to apologize in advance. You will find some bumpy edges here and there, because Gabe doesn’t believe in wasting things that can be made useful again. Gabe really likes to repurpose found objects that no one seems to want. So…you will also find thoughtfully painted items such as wood, rocks, old flower pots, and even previously painted canvases. Gabe believes anyone can do it; so get out a brush and some paint, and help make something beautiful that you’ll find worth keeping, too.

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