ELIZABETH, NJ — An Elizabeth man is making a name for himself in the art world, and now his work has been selected by Community Access Unlimited to grace the walls of its new facility on West Grand Street. CAU is an Elizabeth-based organization that provides support services for adults and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Anand Subramaniam, 28, has autism but it is clear he was destined to express himself through his painting as he continues to impress with his vibrant, energetic technique, although he has some difficulty expressing himself verbally. The artist has sold his work to private collectors and his painting have been exhibited at a variety of venues.
Subramaniam attends Arts Unbound, a nonprofit art school based in Orange that is dedicated to giving those with disabilities, as well as senior citizens, a way to express and showcase their art.
Recently, CAU asked Arts Unbound for several pieces of art for the walls of its new headquarters, and three of Subramaniam’s pieces were selected. CAU found out only later that the artwork they had chosen had been created by one of its own members.
“Imagine how pleasantly surprised we were when we discovered that several of the artworks being lent to us by Arts Unbound were created by one of our members,” Sid Blanchard, CAU executive director, said in a July 6 press release sent to LocalSource. “This is especially apt because we declared 2017 ‘the Year of the Arts at CAU,’ as we feel the arts are one of the many ways people with disabilities can grow intellectually and emotionally while sharing in something that is loved by the wider community. We never guessed we’d be getting artwork created by one of our members; it’s as if Anand is giving back.”
Subramaniam has been a CAU member for a little more than a year. Through the agency’s Community Support Program, counselors come to his home for visits and take him out for walks, visits to the park and sporting events.
Subhadra Subramaniam, Anand’s mother, told LocalSource that her son’s artistic talents surfaced when he started taking art lessons at Arts Unbound a few years ago.
“I’ve been taking him for art lessons on a regular basis,” Subhadra Subramaniam said in a recent phone interview. “His art teacher has really made a difference. She really knows how to reach him. She lets him discover on his own while still guiding him.”
According to Margaret Mikkelsen, executive director at Arts Unbound, Subramaniam is one of the organization’s exhibiting artists.
“Anand is a really talented young man,” Mikkelsen told LocalSource in a recent phone interview. “He is known for his large works on canvas. His art is exuberant; he paints with a lot of energy. Watching him paint is a joy. He also vocalizes a lot when he paints.”
Mikkelsen said that Anand Subramaniam’s work has been noticed, and that he has sold his work for upwards of $400.
“He is one of our exhibiting artists at our gallery in Orange and our store in Maplewood,” Mikkelsen said. “His work has been shown in both places and at off-site venues. They’ve been really popular pieces.”
Recently, Subramaniam’s work was purchased by a law firm to hang in its offices.
“He’s in a couple of private collections now,” Mikkelsen said, adding that the young artist is so good that she proudly purchased one of his paintings to adorn her own walls.
“I bought one of his pieces,” she said. “He is a very talented young man.”