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Autistic artist Jake Chodesh paints celebrities for charity

Paintings of stars include Woody Allen and Larry David

    A severely autistic artist has raised more than £10,000 for charity by selling his celebrity portraits.

    Jake Chodosh started painting as a hobby, but his unique style quickly sparked the attention of art lovers, and he now regularly receives private commissions.

    The 23-year-old’s sisters, Katie and Jessica Chodosh, set up a website to sell his paintings of stars including Woody Allen and Larry David, and the money raised goes to Jewish charities that have helped their family.

    Katie Chodosh, 28, said: “We discovered Jake loved painting ten years ago at school. He has complex needs and is non-verbal, which means he is brilliant in some areas and infantile in others.

    “When we were younger, it was hard to understand Jake’s needs.

    “It was always hard as a family to find things that he enjoyed doing. But it became clear straight away that he loved to paint.

    “He started off just painting anything in his art class, but then we decided to do it with him at home and we printed off portraits of famous people and found out that he loves to copy.”

    Mr Chodosh, who lives in a supported living home run by Norwood in Edgware, North West London, has painted celebrities from Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé to Nelson Mandela.

    “At first it was just something that was making him happy,” Ms Chodosh said, “but he started to paint some really interesting pictures.

    “He was capturing the celebrities’ personalities with his distinctive style.

    “I started posting them in art groups on Facebook and people were responding really well to them.

    “We decided to set up artismbyjake.com as a way to showcase all the portraits he has done and sell them to raise money for the charities that have helped him.”

    Ms Chodosh, who said siblings can sometimes feel like forgotten carers, said that knowing people wanted to buy his pictures was a source of great pride to Mr Chodosh.

    “He gets this cheeky grin on his face when you tell him,” she said.

    “What is nice about Jake’s work is that it is good on its own merit. The pictures are actually good and his style is unique.”

    She said the paintings were a way of celebrating his talent and what he has to offer rather than focusing on the fact that he is autistic.

    “He is contributing to society and he is giving back and helping others. It shows he has something to contribute to society and it is not just about his autism.”

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