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Local artist, aspiring author hopes to inspire people through his work

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COLORADO SPRINGS -

Jake Dion's distinctive paintings and drawings are drawing attention and praise from people around Colorado Springs.

"It's not a genetic gift, I can tell you that, he's an artist all on his own. It's a gift from God," Jake's mother Jennifer Dion said. 

Jake was 3 years old when he first began drawing and painting. He also has autism.

"I was told by the doctors that he would never speak, be able to learn in a classroom setting, that he would never have a sense of humor or be able to show affection. They said he would not be able to have a meaningful life. They said I should put him into an institution."

Jennifer never considered the option, opting instead to prove the doctors wrong. 

For the first six and a half years of his life, Jake didn't verbally communicate. However, what he could and did do was speak through his art.

"When I was 3, I started communicating with my mom who wanted [me] to color and draw," said Jake. 

"So I have all of his pictures [dating back] from forever," continued Jennifer. 

Jake said when he's creating, he's thinking about nothing else, "It makes me feel perfect."

More than 20 years later, Jake continues to create, communicating his values through his pencil, "It gets us to have really great conversations about what he finds beautiful," said Jennifer. 

And one of the things he finds truly beautiful are elephants, "He's really in tune with animals," said his mother. 

But Jake doesn't always draw animals how they are; choosing instead to draw them as he feels they should be. Calling himself a surgeon artist, Jake restores animals that are broken. "He feels as if he's helping the animals by mending them."

"People want to know how I do my own drawing, I tell them I do them in my own head," he added. 

Going forward, Jake hopes to create a children's book, encouraging others with autism to pursue their dreams, "He's just a good person, his heart is so good," Jennifer said. 

Jake, who has had work auctioned off at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo events, has also recently been commissioned to create two unique pieces of art for the "Garden of the Gods Club and Resort and the Goodwill Foundation."

Visit Jake's website HERE

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