Below are our American Artists. To learn more about an individual artist, or to view an example of their work, please click below.
In 1963, Dana Wolf was a 15-year-old high school wrestler when he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle. He was diagnosed as a C-4/5 spinal injury victim, leaving him unable to walk or use his arms.
At 21 years old, Dana married and graduated from junior college, completing an Associates of Arts degree in Business Administration and Office Management.
After a successful career with the Federal government, Dana moved to Arkansas to be with his family. His new surroundings inspired him to explore new avenues of expression, and he began to paint nature scenes of Arkansas. Currently, he is helping raise funds for a cultural center.
“I didn’t know how I would satisfy my independent streak,” Wolf said. “But the MFPA is helping me remain confident in my ability to take care of myself and to honor my art.”
In 2002, he traveled to art exhibitions in San Mateo, California, and to Atlanta, Georgia and Long Beach, California in 2003, where he showcased several paintings. Dana displayed his work at the “Abilities Expos 2003” in Chicago, Illinois and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
In his spare time, Dana has begun raising boar goats, an African breed that thrives in extreme weather conditions. The goats, along with a few cows, help clear the underbrush on Dana’s ten acres of land.
Dana currently resides in Mountain Home, Arizona.
Pictured above: “Iron Horse Wagon” by Wolf.
Ronald Tabor was born in 1948. He lost the use of his legs and hands after being injured in a car accident when he was 21 years old. Ronald has had work exhibited in many art shows. His favorite subjects are animals, including birds and butterflies. Ronald does not limit his paintings to canvas, he has recently painted several wooden cabinet doors, one of which received a second place award at the Ozark Heritage Art Center show. Ronald currently resides in Harrison, Arkansas, with his wife and three children. He is an active member of his community, where he often visits local schools and church groups to give demonstrations. Ronald also enjoys talking with graduate students before they begin their occupational and physical therapy residencies. In his spare time, Ronald enjoys playing chess, collecting antiques, raising farm animals, fishing and visiting with friends and family. Ronald was promoted to Full Member in 2013.
Pictured above: “Sailing Out to Sea” by Tabor.
Will Barton, from San Diego, was studying to follow in the footsteps of his Artist parents when a tragic incident left him paralyzed in both arms and one leg. After leaving friends, Will was walking home talking to his cousin on the phone when a stranger ran up behind him and shot him at point blank range in the shoulder, neck and head. The stranger, who later went on a rampage throughout the city, left Will for dead.
Will was given only a 1% chance of survival, and Doctors said he would most likely be in a permanent catatonic state should he live. Despite these extraordinary odds, Will pulled through and after months of extensive therapy Will can speak, sit upright and even take a few steps.
Determined to continue his dreams of becoming an artist, Will (with the help of his artist parents) began mouth painting filling the appetite for creativity he had prior to his injury. Using tragedy as a tool for recovery, Will uses his art for recreational therapy and one day hopes to become a recreational therapist himself.
Will was accepted as a Student Member of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting in 2015.
Pictured above: “Devargas” by Barton
Cindi Bernhardt became a quadriplegic at the age of 18, when she broke her neck in a fall from a second-floor window. While in the hospital, she learned to write using a specially adapted pen between her teeth. Her writing soon progressed to sketching, then to painting. Following physical therapy, Cindi attended Mount San Antonio Junior College in Walnut, California, and received associate degrees in Child Development and Mental Health. She was working in a school for at-risk children when she decided to pursue her passion for art. In 1991, she joined the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists as a student member and remains in this position while continuing to work in the field of social services.
Today, Cindi’s works are featured in private collections throughout the United States, including one owned by William E. Simon, the former president of the U.S.A. Olympic Committee. During the 2002 Winter Olympics, Cindi carried her wheelchair-mounted Olympic torch through the streets of Pasadena, California, as part of the relay team that carried the flame throughout the country to the Salt Lake City Games.
As a special tribute to those who died on 9/11, Cindi painted an emotive image of a red, white and blue American eagle shedding a tear. MFPA created this piece as a tribute to the anniversary of 9/11 in 2002, and inserted it into 730,000 copies of the New York Times.
In her spare time, Cindi shares her story of triumph over adversity as a motivational speaker. She currently resides in West Covina, California.
Pictured above: “Crying Eagle” by Bernhardt.
Michael Condon, from San Diego, broke his neck in a diving accident in 1971 which rendered him quadriplegic. Before his accident Michael served as a Sentry Dog Trainer in the US Army. After leaving the Army Michael was a survivalist, trekking across the United States.
After his injury, Michael attended Pasadena City College (PCC) as a pre-law student, taking art classes to fill his schedule. He soon found a deep rooted love for painting and drawing with his mouth and quickly changed Majors. After receiving an Associate’s Degree in Art from PCC, Michael transferred to San Diego State University where he went on to earn both a Bachelors and Masters in Art through the University’s painting program.
Michael has been painting, drawing and sculpting with his mouth since graduating from San Diego State University (SDSU) in 1983 and participates in varying shows and exhibits; including his one man show “Recent Works” in the Masters Gallery at SDSU. He has also won numerous awards for his art.
Michael was accepted as a Student Member to the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in 2015.
Pictured above: “Self Portrait” by Condon
Frank Espinosa was born in West Covina CA in 1972. At 18 years old Frank was shot in the head and neck leaving him quadriplegic. Even before his injury, Frank had a strong affiliation toward art but had never before applied pencil to paper. As part of his personal rehabilitation he decided to put a pen in his mouth and began drawing. Diligently working at his craft, Frank soon flourished as a mouth artist. After a brief hiatus for medical reasons, Frank resumed drawing and applied to the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists and began painting with the help of Full Member Robert Thome. In 2014, Frank was accepted as a student member to the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists.
Pictured above: “Brownie” by Espinosa.
Dennis Francesconi was 17 years old when he broke his neck in a water skiing accident. This injury left him paralyzed from the chest down. A few years later during his rehabilitation, he met his future wife, Kristi. Kristi encouraged Dennis to find an outlet to express his emotions. He chose writing, which began as a need to write his name and to recapture his identity. “I grew tired of being known as ‘X’ which was all I could scribble with a pen wedged between my fingers. So one day, in an act of frustration, I grabbed the pen between my teeth and just wrote my name,” said Dennis.
Writing then turned into doodling, and over time, his talent developed. Dennis became an MPFA student artist in 1993, when a chance meeting with a fellow MFPA artist led him to apply to the Association.
As his talent progressed, he took on more difficult art subjects and experimented with untraditional paint media. In 1999, when Dennis was promoted to a full member MFPA artist, he was able to fulfill his lifelong dream of coming off Social Security support.
Dennis has participated in about 70 exhibitions, which include shows in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta, as well as Europe, Asia, and Australia. He currently lives in Madera, California and attributes much of his success to the MFPA.
Pictured above: “Birds of Paradise in Abstract” by Francesconi.
Deisy Mendez, from California was born in Mexico in 1984.Just two months after moving to the United States, she was involved in a tragic car accident which left her a quadriplegic. Deisy was taken to the Ranchos Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center in Los Angeles and that is where she met fellow MFPA artists, Robert Thome, Jose Robledo, and Esvin Rodriguez. Through their inspiration and help, Deisy learned to paint with the brush in her mouth and soon realized she had a hidden talent as an artist. She works very hard at her mouth painting and is doing increasingly well at her new found skill.
Deisy wishes to progress from painting with acrylics to oils and her favorite subjects are angels.
Pictured above: “The Angel of Liberty” by Mendez.
Jesus Montoya was born in Michoacan, Mexico in 1977. He came to America at the age of 13 to better his life. Sadly enough, at the age of 21, he was in a serious car accident which left him with a severe spinal cord injury. He has no use of his legs and very limited use of his arms.
While attending school, Jesus began painting by holding the brush in his mouth. He soon realized he had a passion for art. Jesus plans to further his education while mastering his ability to paint. He enjoys painting flowers in watercolors and is currently living in Santee, California.
Pictured above: “Autumn” by Montoya.
Bill Morales was born in El Salvador in 1954. At only 14 years old he developed Guillain-Barré Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that damages the nervous system. Shortly after his diagnosis, Bill moved to California to continue his rehabilitation at the world renowned Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Hospital. In 1969, the effects of his condition rendered Bill completely paralyzed. Bill was first introduced to mouth painting by MFPA member, and fellow Rancho Los Amigos’ ex-patient, Robert Thome. After many years of encouragement, Bill picked up a paint brush and discovered a new found inspiration in his life, and is dedicated to his craft as a mouth painter. Bill lives with his wife of 29 years in their home in California and is the father of two sons. Bill became a student member of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in 2013.
Pictured above: “Pelican Bay” by Morales
Kenzi Robi, from California, has loved to paint for as long as he can remember. As a small boy, his father would return home from his job at a paper factory with giant spools of paper that Kenzi and his five brothers and sisters would spend countless hours drawing and painting on.
As a young adult, Kenzi embarked on a career in art and enrolled at City College in San Francisco with a major in Graphic Design. In 1992, when he was only 19 years old, Kenzi was assaulted while at a party and was shot 3 times. One of the bullets struck Kenzi in the neck immediately rendering him quadriplegic.
Kenzi struggled to accept his new life as a quadriplegic, now totally dependent upon someone else to help him with every day to day task. However, one day (after many attempts to use complicated apparatus) Kenzi decided to grasp a paint brush between his teeth and began to paint. The creative ability he thought he had lost blossomed and his life no longer seemed so bleak.
Kenzi was accepted as a Student Member of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in 2015.
Pictured above: “Pink Wallpaper” by Robi
Esvin Rodriguez was born in 1979. Gunned down in a gang-related shooting at the age of 16, Esvin was fortunate enough to have been exposed to mouth painting while rehabilitating at All Saints Healthcare in North Hollywood.
Under the tutelage of celebrated MFPA member artist Robert Thome, Rodriguez is quickly gaining a reputation as a talented artist. His playful abstracts, portraits of flowers, animals and landscapes show a maturity that only comes from natural ability. Esvin credits Thome and the All Saints’ activities director, Gye Di Capua, for bringing out the art.
“When I started to paint, I slowly moved away from all the hate and the anger I was carrying as a young man,” he says. “You can see how it has gone from dark images to lighter as I became lighter inside. Painting is saving my life.”
Esvin lives in Santa Monica, California, and is often asked to speak to young people in the community about overcoming adversity.
Pictured above: “Snowcovered Night” by Rodriguez.
Ann Ruth, from Rolling Hills Estates CA, was only five years old when she suffered a spinal cord injury whilst playing with her brother on a gymnastic beam. The injury she sustained was similar to that of late actor Christopher Reeve resulting in complete paralysis from her neck down and left her to depend on a respirator. With the help of her devoted parents, Ann maintained a positive attitude despite her disability. Ann began painting in junior high at the encouragement of a friend. Later in her life, Ann resumed her passion for painting. For Ann, painting is a break from reality; an opportunity to focus on creating beautiful paintings to bring herself and others joy. Ann was accepted as a student member to the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in 2014.
Pictured above: “Orange Blossom” by Ruth.
Perry Simms was born August 29, 1945 in Pittsburgh, California. A tragic motorcycle accident in 1976 completely changed his life. He went off the road at high speed and was thrown into a stand of trees. He was instantly paralyzed. After the devastating accident, Perry decided to pursue his college education, as he is very interested in anthropology, science and psychology. He has also always had a passion for art and began to paint with his mouth in 1977. Perry enjoys mostly painting landscapes in oils. Perry now lives in Hidden Valley Lake, California.
Pictured above: “On The Farm” by Simms.
Peter Soby was born in 1967 in Chicago, IL. For as long as he can remember, art was a large part of his life, from painting and sketching to playing a variety of musical instruments. In high school, Peter was well known among his peers as an active member of the school community as both the vice president of the student council, year book editor and the voice of the high school radio. Peter had a bright and promising future ahead of him and enrolled in the communications program at the local community college after graduation. Then, in the summer between his freshman and sophomore year in College,while hanging out with friends, Peter dove into a lake that was too shallow instantly severing his spinal cord between the 5th and 6th vertebrae. Despite this tragic setback, and after months of rehabilitation, Peter’s drive and passion remained undeterred and he never lost focus of his love of the arts. Peter continued to DJ, and although he could no longer play the piano or guitar, he taught him self to play the harmonica using a brace to hold the harmonica in place (just like Bob Dylan!). Peter later moved to LA and emmersed himself in film, theater and music- directing short films, plays and music videos for local artists. It wasn’t until he was having a conversation with a good friend, and fellow MFPA artist Mariam Paré, that he was encouraged to return to his roots as visual artist and start mouth painting. After a period of trial and error- Peter found his inspiration and blossomed as a mouth artist, before at Mariam’s encouragement, applying to the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists.
Peter was accepted as a Student Member of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in 2015.
Pictured above: “Cat Art Gallery’ by Soby.
Rudy Steffany was born in Samoa in 1971 and worked for a furnishing house until one day his life was forever changed. A tragic car accident rendered Rudy a quadriplegic. Rudy began painting with his mouth as a form of therapy and was accepted to MFPA as a student in 1994.
Today, Rudy lives in Garden Grove, CA and attends a Community College where he takes art courses.
Pictured Above: “Motive of the South Seas” by Steffany
Robert Thome was born in 1954. He became a quadriplegic in his teens following an injury sustained while playing football. Always interested in art, he turned to mouth painting as a form of therapy and self-expression.
Robert joined the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in 1984 as a student artist. In 1997, he received the Governor’s Trophy, the highest honor given to a Californian with a disability, and later that year was promoted to a full member MFPA artist. His honors also include Mainstream Milestones “Award of Extraordinary Achievement” given by the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and an induction into the California Hall of Fame in 1996.
Robert has continued to improve his technique and has participated in more than 200 exhibitions. He demonstrated and exhibited his work, with fellow MFPA artists’ work, at the World Congress & Exposition on Disabilities in Atlanta, and received a first place award for his work at the Sister Kenny International Art Show in the oils and acrylics category.
In addition to his artwork, Robert mentors fellow MFPA artists and teaches at youth and adult schools, universities and other community organizations. He is a founding member of the Artability Artist Association, a group of disabled artists who teach at the San Diego Rehabilitation Center. Robert recently completed a colored mosaic sculpture of a nearly six-foot angel for the Ranchos Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center.
Robert has completed 1,000 paintings to date and lives with his wife, Kathy, in Whittier, California.
Pictured above: “Elephant” by Thome.
Alana Tillman, from California, was born with Arthrogryposis; a birth defect that left her without the use of her arms and hands. Alana quickly learned how to write using her mouth, but it wasn’t until she was introduced to painting, while recovering from multiple surgeries in a children’s hospital, that she was given the drive to succeed. Alana began seriously painting at the age of 12, and earned her Associates degree in fine arts and liberal science from the Santa Rosa Junior College of California, where Alana not only creates art, but is also an assistant curator at the college’s art gallery. Alana uses many different media to paint haunting and beautiful landscapes, as well as vibrant pop art images. Alana became a student member of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in 2013.
Pictured above: “Berry Branch” by Tillman
Chris Tynan was rendered quadriplegic in a diving accident at age 16. Chris spent the next few months in the hospital undergoing rehabilitation. Chris had always enjoyed drawing, so his mother introduced him to mouth painting.
Chris quickly gained recognition for his work, as he was featured in John Deere magazine for his painting of a tractor. He uses a variety of media including pencil, oils, acrylics, watercolors and oil pastels. Chris enjoys paintings that depict wildlife and landscapes, but is also interested in creating fantasy and the surreal. When Chris is not painting, he enjoys crossword puzzles, chess, board games, the Internet and hanging out with friends.
Chris lives on his own in Charmichael, California.
Pictured above: “Pumpkin Patch” by Tynan.
Levi Evans, from Colorado was an extraordinarily active young man who worked as a pipe-fitter apprentice. He developed an interest in metal artwork, brazing and welding and soon learned how to design tattoos. All of this came to an abrupt end for Levi in January 2008 when he began having a tingling feeling in his joints and muscles. He was taken to the hospital where they discovered an abscess in his spine. The swelling in his spinal column was so severe, that it damaged his spine beyond repair, rendering him a C-2 quadriplegic.
Levi’s will and determination proved to be very powerful, as he did not let the fact that he had no use of his arms or legs discourage him. He began holding a pen in his mouth and from there, he learned a whole new way to paint and make artwork. He was accepted to the Association in 2011 and favors bright surreal images painted in acrylics.
Today, Levi gets to spend quality time with his young daughter while he paints from his home. He is constantly striving to improve his artwork and finds great joy through mouth painting.
Pictured above: “Strength & Understanding” by Evans.
Donna Smith was born in 1954. She became a quadriplegic during a boating accident in 1990. Donna has learned from many painting instructors, including courses from the Famous Artist School and a marine painting course. In 1995, she joined MFPA, and has been recognized for her work at the Sister Kenny International Art Show. She enjoys painting animals, scenery and flowers.
Donna lives in Colchester, Connecticut. In her spare time Donna enjoys reading and crafts.
Pictured above: “Harbor View” by Smith.
Mrs. Quintero Bealer was born on the 11th of September 1972 in Bogota, Colombia without arms and legs. After Primary School she completed the sixth year of secondary school in a long-distance study program. Since the age of 5 she has been painting Oil and Acrylic pictures. She has participated in several paint competitions in schools. Her hobbies are Music and Lectures. Everin spends her time between her native country of Columbia and Florida, USA.
Pictured above: “Cottage by the brook” by Bealer.
Christopher Kuster was in a tragic swimming accident which left him a quadriplegic in 1992. During his long months of recovery in the hospital, Chris searched for a focus for his new life living in a wheelchair. He spent most of his life enjoying the outdoor lifestyle of the West Florida coast and he somehow wanted to capture that feeling of peace and tranquility which surrounded him. Learning to paint by holding the brush in his mouth was a long, slow process which Chris eventually mastered. His paintings are so realistic, you can almost hear the waves crashing on the shore.
Chris hopes that his paintings will transport his viewers to the places he has been, and capture the serene essence that is the Florida landscape. Chris’ works have been featured on television, represented in galleries and nationally published. He was easily accepted into the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in 2009.
Pictured above: “Regatta” by Kuster.
Sara May from Florida, had always been artistic, spending many hours Scrapbooking and engaging in arts and crafts. However, Sara was diagnosed with Progressive Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis in 2005 which forced her to leave work and drastically limited her ability to be creative.
In her youth, Sara had been a painter. She had won many awards and was selected to attend a prestigious art program at Hendrix College in Arkansas. Now as an adult with little to no movement in her arms and hands, Sara began painting again, this time as a mouth painter and found that her old talent still remained. Thanks to her journey into mouth painting, Sara is once again able to express her creativity.
Sara was accepted as a Student Member of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in 2015.
Pictured above: “Lighthouse” by May.
Tony Ryals was born May 28, 1959 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was born with arthrogryposis, a rare disease which cripples the body. He is therefore unable to use his arms and legs. Tony was placed in a foster family at an early age. Under the guidance of his foster parents he learned to paint with his mouth using crayons and chalks. Tony eventually moved to Jacksonville, Florida where he attended art classes in high school and at Jacksonville University. Tony calls his works “Art of Hope”, as he strives to inspire hope through his art. The mouth painting artist’s favorite topics are sea views and lighthouses.
Pictured above: “Butterflies” by Ryals.
Mark Sotak was born and raised in Rocky River, Ohio right on the shore of Lake Erie, so it was natural that he loved the outdoors and had a great sense of adventure. Mark left his home in 1981 to attend college in Florida, where his life would suddenly be changed forever. One night, while driving in a car with a bunch of his college buddies, the vehicle Mark was in lost control, and after rolling three times, came to rest in a roadside ditch. Mark was left with a severe spinal injury, confining him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
He went back to Ohio for treatment and rehabilitation after the accident, but eventually moved to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida where he actually acquired a degree in Law. Not being happy with being a lawyer, Sotak discovered a true passion for art and began painting with the brush held in his mouth. Today, Mark is an avid member of his church and credits God and his “church family” for his artistic talent. His best works include vivid seascapes and portraits.
Pictured Above: “Under an Erie Sky” by Sotak
Jesica Gacuson, from Hawaii was born with a birth defect known as bilateral congenital disorder which means she has no use of her arms and limited use of her legs. This proved to make all things in her life a challenge, as she had to learn to do everything with her feet instead of her hands. Jesica was determined to be like all the other kids and refused to let her disability come in the way of her dreams. Jesica learned to play the drums with her feet and she can even drive a car.
While in college, Jesica discovered she wanted a career in animation and soon enrolled in the necessary classes. She was surprised to learn she needed to take art classes in order to pursue this degree and as she began painting with her foot, she realized she loved it.
Jesica was accepted as a student to the Association and loves to draw still lifes and florals in bright, vivid colors.
Pictured above: “Still Life” by Gacuson.
Moses Hamilton was born on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Mo, as he is known by his friends, began sketching at a young age and since that point, art played a pivotal role in his life. However, everything changed for Mo in October 2002 when he was 26 years old. Moses suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a car accident, rendering him quadriplegic. Mo’s rehabilitation was long and arduous but it was during this time that was introduced to mouth painting: “I saw others paint, those who were in even worse situations than me, and it gave me the strength to try”. With the realisation that there was still a vehicle for his creativity, Mo’s passion for art was restored, giving him hope for the future. With considerable hard work Mo developed a unique style that expressive culture of the Hawaiian islands and people. Mo has been featured in magazines and articles, wherein he shares his extraordinary story and talent. Moses hopes to inspire others who are facing adversity to lead productive and fulfilling lives despite their hardships.
Moses was accepted as a student member of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in 2015.
Pictured above: “Honu” by Hamilton.
David Kaaihue was born in 1960. He was left paralyzed after a tragic accident when he fell two stories off a ladder. While in rehab he began to draw and paint with a brush in his mouth. He has taken art classes at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
In addition to painting, David enjoys woodcarving. He lives in Kahuku, Hawaii.
Pictured above: “Star Gazing” by Kaaihue.
Matthew Kaopio, Jr. was born in Kailua, Hawaii on April 28, 1972. Since childhood, he enjoyed art and drawing. On August 17, 1994 his life was forever changed as result of a swimming accident that left him severely paralyzed as a C-4 quadriplegic. He was 22 years old. Kaopio says he was devastated and depressed, feeling like he would never be able to draw or paint another picture again. But while recovering at the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific, Kaopio was introduced to mouth painting by MFPA student member David Kaaihue.
Although frustrated at first, Kaopio worked hard and found that painting helped him regain strength and confidence as he received positive feedback from those who viewed his paintings. Determined and eager to test his limitations, he returned to college to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies and a Master’s degree in Pacific Island Studies.
Matthew Kaopio, Jr. has been painting consistently since 1997 and has had his work in several exhibitions, including a painting that was selected in Hawaii’s “Artists of Hawaii” exhibit in 1999. Matthew now resides in Ewa Beach.
Pictured above: “Hune Kane #2” by Kaopio.
Peter Maaele was born in 1978. At the age of 21, he broke his neck after diving into shallow water. Peter began painting with his mouth while undergoing rehabilitation at the hospital.
A born musician, Peter learned to appreciate the classical styles of music at an early age. Prior to his accident, he played piano for his church choir, and after high school, he played for a band. Through painting, he found a similar creative “rush.”
“In working with the unlimited array of colors, I started to find the music on the canvas,” said Peter.
Peter claims that painting has been rejuvenating as well as rehabilitative, and has revealed an undeveloped talent that has become a focal point in his life.
Peter currently lives in Waipahu, Hawaii.
Pictured Above : “Notre Dame” by Maaele
Edward “Buster” Medeiros was born in 1957 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was playing on his high school football team when tragedy struck one fateful afternoon. During a game, Edward was tackled and suffered an injury to his spinal cord which rendered him a quadriplegic. The ever determined Medeiros, however returned to his high school after extensive therapy and still was able to graduate with the rest of his class. Edward even went on to receive a BA degree in English from the University of Hawaii.
It wasn’t until later in life, after attending an art exhibit of all disabled artists, Edward decided to try to paint with his mouth. Thanks to the encouragement of his girlfriend Beverly, who helped him immensely with his painting, Edward is now quite a talented artist. He attends art classes on a regular basis and is always striving to improve his art. He prefers to paint vivid landscapes in oils.
Pictured above: “Another Dog Gone Birthday” by Medeiros
Alex Vicente was 18 years old when he was involved in a tragic car accident, which left him completely paralyzed from the neck down. While he was in rehab, Alex met a mouth painter who was a student of the MFPA named David Kaaihue. David, along with the art director at the rehab facility, encouraged Alex to try to paint by holding the brush in his mouth. Alex soon realized he had a new talent and is working very hard to improve his artistic abilities. Alex prefers painting floral scenes and landscapes in vibrant oils.
Today, Alex lives in his own apartment in Honolulu, Hawaii and is continually developing his mouth painting skills.
Pictured above: “Thirteen Prophets” by Vicente
Antonio Davis was born on March 24, 1975 in Chicago. In 1994, he suffered a gunshot wound to the chest that left him quadriplegic. Prior to his injury, Antonio was studying graphic art at a vocational school in Chicago. He was encouraged by a friend to start drawing again, this time by holding the pen in his mouth. Subsequently, Robert Thome, MFPA full member artist inspired and encouraged Antonio to develop his skills as a mouth painter.
He now resides in his native Chicago with his wife and focuses mainly on portraits, landscapes and still lifes.
Pictured above: “Blue Velvet” by Davis.
Artemio Garcia had big dreams of going somewhere with his guitar-playing skills. Born in Mexico, he came to the United States in 1991 for the sole purpose of buying a brand new guitar. While on his trip to Chicago, he was mistaken for a gang member and shot in the neck. This rendered Artemio a quadriplegic and he thought his life was over.
However, while at the rehab hospital in Chicago, his doctors encouraged him to hold a pen in his mouth and try writing his name. This opened up a whole new world for Artemio and he soon began painting with his mouth. One of his paintings was used at the rehab hospital as their annual holiday card. Artemio applied to the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in 2009 and was accepted.
Artemio continues to paint everyday and is still involved with his music too. He is currently living in Chicago, IL. His favorite subjects include landscapes done in oils.
Pictured above: “Pot of Flowers” by Garcia.
Donna Orr, from Illinois was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1988 and slowly lost all the use of her hands and legs. She was an artist before her illness, and almost gave up her passion for art when she couldn’t use her hands to draw anymore. After a friend showed her art work done by the Mouth & Foot Painting Artists, Donna soon realized she had a new gift; she could paint by holding the brush in her mouth. Donna is continuing her career as an artist and is very determined to improve her work in acrylics. Her favorite subjects include landscapes.
Pictured above: “Lighthouse” by Orr.
Mariam Paré was born December 1, 1975 in Kenitra, Morocco and her family moved to the United States when she was a small child. Mariam was in college working on her Art History degree when at age 20 she was left quadriplegic due to an accidental gunshot wound. In 1997 she began to re-learn to paint when introduced to mouth painting by an occupational therapist and now enjoys painting in various mediums including watercolors and oils that reflect her love of movement and vibrant colors. Mariam now resides in Chicago, Illinois.
Mariam was promoted to Associate Member in 2015.
Pictured above: “Tomatillos ” by Paré.
Dawn Smith, from Rochelle, Illinois was born with a condition known as Holt-Oram Syndrome, a genetic syndrome which primarily affects the heart and hands. In Dawn’s case, the majority of her disability is in her arms and hands. She was born with arms that are about three inches long and only has three fingers on each hand. Since she was born this way, it was natural for Dawn to grow up using her feet in place of her hands. Dawn can do just about anything an able-bodied person can do by using her feet. She can drive her car, cook, clean, mow the lawn, but most importantly, Dawn is a single mother of four boys.
Since she was a little girl, Dawn always loved to draw and paint, holding the brushes with her feet. As she grew older, she found painting to be a form of escaping from her busy day to day routine. She painted all the walls in her house, as well as her boys bedrooms with bright, cheerful designs from floor to ceiling. She now works mostly with acrylics and loves to capture the beauties of her surroundings on canvas.
Pictured Above: “In The Making” by Smith
Reva Brown was born in 1938, in the tiny rural town of Mud Lick, Kentucky.
Born with shortened arms which, with effort, can grip no more than a piece of paper, Reva learned to complete day-to-day functions with her feet. She began drawing with her feet, beginning first with cartoons, then progressing into landscapes, animals and religious works. One of the highlights in Reva’s life was her acceptance as a student artist by the MFPA in 1982.
Several celebrities have purchased Reva’s drawings, including the late Minnie Pearl, Glen Campbell and the gospel music group, The Happy Hunters. She personally presented a drawing to the late recording artist Tiny Tim. Reva now resides in Glasgow, Kentucky.
Pictured above: “Sunrise” by Brown.
At only14 years of age Robert Florio, of Maryland, was rendered quadriplegic after diving into a swimming pool. Even before his accident, Robert was an aspiring artist. In 2007 Robert graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburg with a Bachelors of Science in Video Game Art and Design. For Robert art is both a form of expression and a way of life; a philosophy that radiates in his colorful and vivid paintings. He is energetic, driven and an enthusiastic young man. Robert enjoys spending his time, when not painting, public speaking, writing and illustrating children’s books. One of his notable attributes, apart from his artistic talent, is his joy for living, evidenced by his stand-up comedy routines and his autobiography “LIFE! It Must be a Comedy”. Robert was accepted as student member to MFPA in 2012.
Pictured above: “Happy Sun on a Beach” by Florio.
Eusuclemia Vieira was born in Rio de Janiero, Brazil in 1953. Eusuclemia was involved in a tragic electrical accident in 1974 in which she lost both of her hands and parts of her arms. She spent the next eight months recovering in the hospital.
Prior to her accident, Eusuclemia enjoyed photography, and afterwards a friend in Brazil encouraged her to paint as a way to continue expressing herself artistically. Her friend also helped to introduce her to the MFPA. She moved to the United States in 1986 and has taken up residency in Silver Springs, Maryland. Today she continues to paint and especially enjoys painting water scenes with boats.
After personally showing her art to ambassadors in Washington, DC, Eusuclemia’s work is now on display in the Brazilian delegate’s home in Washington, and another piece is owned by a different ambassador and housed in Brazil. In addition, she has received a gold medal, several silver medals and honorary mention awards for her work.
In her spare time, Eusuclemia enjoys swimming and playing with children.
Pictured above: “Bouquet in Primary Colors” by Vieira.
Stephen Libby was 29 years old when he was in a tragic automobile accident, rendering him a quadriplegic. As a young child, Steve enjoyed drawing so it was only natural that, while in rehab, he started using colored pencils to draw with his mouth. After years of practice, Stephen switched from drawing and sketching, to painting with his mouth. He prefers to paint vibrant landscapes and flowers in oils.
Today, Stephen is living in Maine and is continually developing his mouth painting skills.
Pictured above: “Cat tails on the lake” by Libby.
Jesse Cuellar, from Missouri, was only 28 when he fell of a roof while working in construction. Before his accident, Jesse’s passion was art. He loved drawing and painting and despite no longer being able to walk again, he was devastated that he would never again be able to do what he loved. Or so he thought. While he was at the Rehab Institute of St Louis, he was encouraged by his physical therapist to begin mouth painting. Through practice and perseverance, Jesse has found a new found passion for art, and produces paintings that he feels are just as good, if not better than those he painted with his hands.
Jesse’s painting are bright vivid abstracts that reflect his generation. He is determined to inspire people that they can overcome any obstacle no matter the limitations. Jesse was accepted into the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in 2013.
Pictured above: “Tree3” by Cuellar
Doug Landis was born February 15, 1959 in Fresno. In January of 1975 at the age of 15 he suffered from a wrestling accident in high school that left him quadriplegic. Doug taught himself to paint by mouth and went on to graduate from the California Institute of Arts in Valencia with a Master of Fine Arts degree. He has received acclaim for his animal drawing series “Vanishing Breeds” done in pencil. Doug has exhibited his works in various exhibitions in the U.S. He now resides in Ballwin, Missouri and along with pencil sketches, he enjoys experimenting with watercolor and acrylic paintings.
Pictured above: “Panda” by Landis.
Letisha Shelton, from Missouri was born with several severe birth defects which include a clubbed left foot, a curved femur and no arms at all. This made life very difficult for Letisha, as she had to learn to do all her tasks with her right foot.
At a very young age, Letisha loved to draw with her foot and doodle all over any piece of paper she came across. Her father saw her artistic abilities and brought her home a drawing book which she filled with cartoon characters, skyscrapers, flowers and animals. While in high school, Letisha began taking art classes and really began to master her talent as a foot painter. She was accepted as a student to the Association in 2011.
Today, Letisha is enrolled in college and her teachers refer to her as an abstract artist. She wishes to pursue her career as an artist and is always striving to reach the level of artistic ability that would put her at a professional level. Letisha paints mainly landscapes and abstracts using oils and water colors.
Pictured above: “Pink Flower” by Shelton.
Michael Monaco was born in 1963. He became a quadriplegic after a car accident in 1980 when he was 16 years old.
Michael earned his GED and later an associate’s degree in Business Administration from the County College of Morris. The computer skills Michael developed in school have allowed him to create websites for himself, friends and local businesses.
Michael’s paintings have received wide recognition and currently decorate the lobby of the William H. Keck Spinal Cord Research Center at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
In spring and summer, Michael performs mouth-painting demonstrations in the parks near his home. Michael also serves on the Board of Directors for Christian Overcomers, a nonprofit support group providing field trips and away-from-home entertainment to people with disabilities. Michael lives in Lincoln Park. New Jersey.
Pictured above: “Spring Arrival” by Monaco.
Benjamin Wolf was born in 1968 with a congenital defect that left him without the use of his arms and legs. At just two years old, Ben and his family moved to Texas, where he underwent numerous surgeries to reshape his legs. Still, he was confined to a wheelchair, and spent much of his childhood adjusting his interests to meet his abilities. Ben became interested in art at a young age, drawing – and eventually painting – with his mouth. In 1983, he was accepted into the MFPA.
Ben’s favorite subjects are animals and landscapes of New Mexico. In addition to painting, Ben enjoys listening to music and writing science fiction stories. He currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Pictured above: “Butterfly and Rosebush” by Wolf.
Mack Johnson was born in 1960. A Native American artist, Mack has two passions: painting and saving lives. He’s able to do both by communicating a message of sobriety through his mouth-painting.
At age 23, Mack plunged over the edge of a cliff while drinking and driving. As a result of his accident, Mack was paralyzed from the neck down. He continued to abuse drugs and alcohol for three years after his accident, until another drinking binge sent him back to the hospital.
After his second hospitalization, Mack checked himself into a clinic for substance abuse therapy and remains sober to this day. After achieving sobriety, he joined Mouth and Foot Painting Artists and now demonstrates to fellow MFPA students and tribesman how it is possible to be an artist without the use of his arms. “I also use the opportunity to warn them about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and how counseling saved my life,” says Mack.
He resides in Reno, Nevada where he is working on an associate degree in digital media at Truckee Meadows Community College.
Pictured above: “Wood Duck” by Johnson.
Nancy Hall, from New York was involved in a tragic motorcycle accident rendering her a C 3-4 quadriplegic. Soon after her accident, Nancy got divorced and she was left to raise her five children all on her own.
Nancy’s youngest child at the time of the accident was only 5 years old and just learning how to write. The rest of her kids needed help with their homework and out of sheer frustration Nancy put a pen in her mouth and began to write. Nancy then began helping her kids color and paint pictures by holding the brush in her mouth. One of her older sons suggested Nancy try painting her own pictures and set her up with a water color paint set. After much hard work and practice, Nancy began making beautiful art work. She started selling her work at craft shows and was accepted to the Association in 2011. Nancy continues to paint vivid flowers and abstracts.
Pictured above: “Spring Flowers” by Hall.
Richard Masters from Webster NY, was only five years old when a dump truck drove through a stop sign and collided with his mother’s car. Richard was looking out of the window when the truck collided with the car and his neck was severely injured as a result. Despite all the odds, Richard survived his devastating injury but was left completely paralyzed from the neck down and dependent on a ventilator.
Richard began painting almost immediately after recovering from his accident in order to maintain flexibility in the muscles above his neck, but it wasn’t until he started taking art classes that his talent blossomed.
Now at 25, Richard is a prolific and talented artist, spending most of his days painting with his Aunt who is a professional artist. Richard’s favorite subjects are Country Music stars, many of whom Richard has presented with portraits.
In 2015, Richard was accepted as a Student Member of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists.
Pictured above: “Poinsettia” by Masters
Growing up, David Senecal lived in New Egypt, New Jersey, with his father. At age 13, David was involved in a diving accident, rendering him paralyzed from the neck down. This injury has not stopped David from pursuing several mediums of art, including painting, photography and woodworking.
At age 17, he read an article in an art magazine about the MFPA and Member artist and fellow New Jersey native Stanley Obritski. It wasn’t until years later, after reading another article on the organization, that he submitted his paintings. He was accepted in 1991.
David’s father inspired another artistic interest — woodworking. “I had a great relationship with my father, who was a carpenter,” says David. “I wanted to learn his craft.”
David bought a small table saw and began tackling wood crafting projects. He has honed his skill, creating small tables, shelves and plaques, which he gives to friends and family.
David’s interest in photography stemmed from his goal to create a reference library for his paintings. David used to struggle with a 35-mm camera mounted on the arm of his wheelchair, but now uses a digital camera, which allows him more freedom and better quality photos. David currently resides in Albany, New York.
Pictured above: “Serene Valley” by Senecal.
Dennis Stone was born in 1955. In his late twenties, Dennis was involved in a stock car accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. At the time, Dennis was a butcher and lost everything because of the accident.
In 1989, he started painting with his mouth. His favorite compositions are scenery and landscape painting. Dennis enjoys taking pictures of landscapes that provide inspiration for his work. He also paints landmarks in an effort to preserve pieces of history.
Dennis currently lives in Morrisonville, New York, near one of his two daughters and his five grandchildren. In addition to painting, Dennis enjoys watching NASCAR races on television and fishing with his grandchildren.
Pictured above: “Day Burns into Night” by Stone.
Ron Heagy, from Oregon, was a wrestler, football star and an avid skier with a bright future when tragedy struck on the day before his 18th birthday. Suffering a broken neck following a surfing accident, Ron awoke the next day to the knowledge that he would never be able to walk, feed or dress himself. Many individuals would have given up, but Ron turned his tragedy into triumph. Through sheer determination, Ron graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Social Work and inspired by his Mother, picked up a brush between his teeth and began to paint. Ron’s talent was natural, and his eye for beauty and detail produces amazing landscapes. Ron was accepted into the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists in 2013.
Pictured above: “Midnight Beach” by Heagy
Maria Huppi, from Oregon was driving down a back road with her husband during a wind storm when a tree fell onto the roof of their minivan. In a matter of seconds, their lives were forever changed. Both Maria and her husband broke their necks as a result of this accident. Mr. Huppi’s neck was fused and he regained full movement but sadly, Maria’s injury was much more serious as she was rendered a C 5/6 quadriplegic and spent many months in rehab.
With much determination, Maria began painting with a brush held in her mouth as a form of therapy. To her surprise, she discovered a great passion for art. Maria loves to paint flowers from photos taken of her own garden and is constantly striving to improve her artistic abilities. Maria was accepted to the Association in 2011 and believes she can do anything she puts her mind to.
Pictured above: “Pond Party” by Huppi.
Julie Ann Mills was born April 30, 1963 in Orange, California with Arthrogryposis, a birth defect that has left her without the use of her hands and limited use of her legs. Julie began mouth painting at the age of 3. She enjoys painting animals and nature scenes in watercolors. She has shown her work at craft fairs, Art Galleries and in several group exhibitions in Eugene, Oregon where she now resides with her two children.
Pictured above: “Bridge in Autumn ” by Mills-Testi.
Robert Rycroft was born in Centralia, Washington on October 24, 1948. In 1983, while residing in California, Robert sustained a surfing injury which left him a quadriplegic, unable to walk. Although paralyzed from the neck down, Robert started painting with a mouth stick.
Robert is now a self-taught artist, who uses a pen and watercolor technique. The artist enjoys painting wildlife, nature, and coastal scenes. His artwork has been displayed in national exhibitions and at art festivals, and many of his paintings have been sold.
Robert Rycroft won a third place award at the Oregon State Fair, out of 205 entries. This show is open to all artists, disabled or not. With great encouragement from his wife Susan and his friend, mouth painter Robert Thome, Robert has pursued his art career full time. Robert now resides in Aumsville, Oregon.
Robert is an Associate Member of the Association.
Pictured above: “Over the Water, Through the Bridge” by Rycroft.
David Nolt was born in 1980 with Multiple Congenital Arthrogryposis, a birth defect that left him without the use of his arms and hands. David began painting as a child, using oils to duplicate images of his surroundings. He learned of the MFPA through current member Jack Reich, who mentored David to his acceptance. Today, David works from a studio in Leola, Pennsylvania.
When he is not painting, Nolt enjoys working with his telescope, which he maneuvers with a mouth stick.
“I am always inspired by the life around me, so I wanted to learn how to translate that to something that could be shared,” Nolt says. “I am looking forward to stretching my talents on behalf of the MFPA.”
David is an Associate Member of the Association.
Pictured above: “Wisteria Cottage” by Nolt.
Michael Platzer, from Pennsylvania was involved in a diving accident when he was just 13 years old that left him a quadriplegic. After being taught how to paint by holding the brush in his mouth by an artist friend, Michael discovered a whole new world as an artist. He worked very hard and even went to Penn State University to further his artistic abilities. Michael’s enthusiasm for painting has superseded any obstacles he has encountered, and a heartfelt affection for his subjects is evident in all his paintings.
Accomplished in both watercolor and oils, Platzer renders a wide range of themes from landscapes and lighthouses to woodpeckers and character studies.
Michael has exhibited his work throughout Pennsylvania and has gained much recognition for his art.
Pictured above: “Lighthouse” by Platzer.
Chris Hartwick was born in northern Illinois on February 6, 1969, with Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. The disease left him without proper muscle development in his arms and chest.
Chris’ artistic talent became noticeable at a young age when he began to draw and paint with his mouth. He continued drawing and painting throughout his adolescence, then enrolled at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, in 1987. He studied graphic design, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in May of 1993.
Chris worked as a digital artist in the animation department in the division of cinema for Bob Jones University. Chris now works with the BJ Help Network, creating animation for educational programs, which are broadcast to home-schooled children. His work also includes designing puppets, graphic design, and producing an arts and craft show.
Chris’ work has been featured at many local, state and national competitions and exhibits, winning awards and receiving recognition regularly. Chris’ main subject matter is roses, which he chooses to illustrate in a variety of mediums, such as ballpoint pen, gouache, oil and watercolor.
Chris’ hobbies include swimming, reading, cooking and karate. He is also a CPR and first aid instructor for Greenville County in South Carolina.
Pictured above: “Daffodils” by Hartwick.
Cynthia Bloom was born in Alabama in 1963 with only one fully developed limb, her left leg. Bloom was faced with learning how to live her life without three limbs.
Bloom, now a resident of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, uses a wheelchair but has learned how to do many things for herself. She dresses herself, feeds herself, applies her own makeup and cooks among other things. She says her parents always encouraged her and treated her just like any other child. “They didn’t pity me,” she says.
Bloom’s young daughter Destiny and partner George are impressed and proud of her. George says he even taught her how to drive. “She can do anything she puts her mind to,” says George. With this in mind, George encouraged her to start painting a while back. Cynthia loves to talk with others with and without disabilities about her paintings and share them with them. “I don’t know what it is like to lose an arm or a leg, but I know what it’s like to live without one.” She paints landscapes, ocean views, animals, lighthouses, religious artwork, or whatever else comes to her mind. “If I see a pretty sunset, I’ll picture it in my mind and try to paint it” she says. “I just love painting.”
Pictured above: “Washington Monument ” by Bloom.
Jared Dunten was born on August 1, 1974 in Texas. In 2000, he was left quadriplegic due to a diving accident. Prior to this, Jared was involved in painting. After his accident, his family and friends encouraged him to continue painting and he developed his skills as a mouth painter.
Jared now resides in Spicewood, Texas and is also involved in writing advertisements for a large company in Austin.
Pictured above: “Reclining Lady” by Dunten.
Sara Jane Parsons was born in 1964 and grew up during the 60’s and 70’s, loving the art of tie-dye, batik, ceramics and macramé. All that changed when a tragic car accident occurred and at the young age of 20, Sara’s neck was broken and she was paralyzed from the shoulders down. She could no longer enjoy her creative outlets and saw her life “as a long dark tunnel stretching before her”.
Sara however, did not give up. Feeling the need to create something, she began drawing and sketching with a brush held in her mouth. She would soon realize her new passion for drawing the human form from live models, even attending figure drawing classes twice a week. Sara is also drawn to the universal organic forms found in sea shells, which she often puts to canvas. Her love affair with painting has continued and Sara mostly works in watercolor and graphite.
Pictured above: “Tiger Lilies” by Parsons
Joe Urquizo was born in 1963 with severe Cerebral Palsy. After graduating from high school, Joe began to paint. This started as a hobby, but as his talent developed, Joe started exhibiting his work in local banks and regional museums.
A resident of Crowell, Texas, Joe is inspired by his surroundings – often painting country and western scenes. He uses a variety of media, including watercolors and oils on canvas to acrylic on tin.
Joe continues to enter his work in local and regional shows and is an active member of his community. In addition to coaching youth softball, he regularly visits middle schools and high schools as a motivational speaker.
Pictured above: “Spring Colors in Basket” by Urquizo.
Jean Michalski was born in Belgium in 1936. When he was 12 years old, Jean and his friends attempted to climb up an electricity pole to better see a soccer game they were attending. Jean lost his balance, fell off the pole and was electrocuted with 11,000 volts. The injury and subsequent complications led to the amputation of both arms. After the accident, Jean was placed in a rehabilitative institution for three years, where he learned to write with his mouth.
When Jean was 16 years old, the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (AMFPA) contacted his mother, and Founder Erich Stegmann visited the family’s home to recruit Jean as a student artist. The Association assisted with tuition for six years of art school at the Royal Academy of Beauty of Arts in Belgium, where Jean was the only disabled student. He became a full member artist of MFPA after six years, at which time the Mayor of Brussels honored him for his achievements.
Jean came to the United States in 1981 and resides in St. George, Utah.
“Being an MFPA painter enables me to live with dignity. I am a full taxpaying citizen!”, Michalski said.
Pictured above: “Harbor in Maine” by Michalski.
Ray Robbins was born January 20, 1965 in North Carolina. In 1984 he was left paralyzed from the chest down due to a serious accident involving a garbage truck. During his stay in a rehabilitation facility after the accident, he began experimenting with mouth painting in oils. Ray now resides in Layton, Utah with his wife. His favorite subjects are animals and landscapes.
Pictured above: “Rocky Moutain Ram” by Robbins.
Paige was born June 29, 1960 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. After graduating from school she worked in a bank and later on she became a facility management analyst in a large mortgage firm. Her life took a dramatic turn in September 1987. In a traffic accident she suffered a spinal injury that left her quadriplegic. She now resides in Manassas, Virginia and in 1999 she became interested in mouth painting and taught herself to paint. She has recently started taking regular art lessons and enjoys painting in oils.
Pictured above: “Yellow Rose ” by Crouch.
Ivar Benavides was born in 1953 in Antosagasta, Chile. Ivar was 11 years old when a kite he was flying became entangled in electric wires. Attempting to “rescue” the kite, Ivar was electrocuted, sending 12,000 volts through his system. The damage from the accident and subsequent complications led to the loss of both of Ivar’s arms.
Benavides typically paints religious scenes and landscapes using a mouth-held brush. The success Ivar experienced with painting encouraged him to pursue other hobbies — one of which is restoring old automobiles.
“I do the body repair, the engines, and I paint them too,” says Ivar. “I hold a hammer between my neck and arm to hammer out the metal. I use a spray gun to paint the cars. I hold the can under my chin and between my arms and use a string in my mouth to pull the trigger. I even work on the engines. I do almost everything.”
Ivar lives in Vancouver, Washington with his wife and three children. He regularly speaks at his children’s schools and offers demonstrations in mouth painting.
Pictured above: “Flowers from the Meadow” by Benavides.
Brom Wikstrom was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. His father, a commercial artist, passed along his artistic interest to Brom, who began painting as a child. Brom continued to study the craft, illustrating his high school yearbook and eventually enrolling in art classes at Seattle Central Community College. During the summer of 1975, at the age of 21, a diving accident left Brom a quadriplegic. He spent seven weeks in intensive care in a public health hospital, and the following year in Seattle at the University of Washington hospital.
During rehabilitation, he learned to use a mouth stick to turn pages when reading. Toward the end of rehabilitation, he started mouth painting, which began to stir up the old, familiar memories associated with painting prior to his accident. After redeveloping his passion and talent for painting, Brom set up an art studio in his home where he began experimenting with geometric designs.
In 1994, Brom became a full member artist of MFPA. His work has been shown around the globe, including the United Kingdom Belgium, British Columbia, Austria and Australia. In 2004, Brom’s work will be featured at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., for the second time. He recently won first place for a watercolor at the Sister Kenny International Art Show.
Brom is actively involved in teaching in elementary and high schools as a visiting guest artist, but explains, “My first and foremost passion is working with MFPA, an organization that encourages continual development and growth in the world of art.”
Pictured above: “Woodland Creek” by Wikstrom.
Adam Spenner was born in 1983 in Jacksonville, Florida. After struggling with respiratory problems from birth, Adam was diagnosed with an Astrocytoma brain stem tumor at the age of 3. Surgery was not even an option and at age 3 ½, Adam was placed on a ventilator and given six months to live. Adam is a fighter and although having many near death experiences, he has persevered. Between the cancer and radiation, Adam was left quadriplegic and requires 24 hour nursing care.
Adam was unable to attend school while living in Florida and was home schooled until 1996 when his family moved to Wisconsin. The school system there was able to attend to his special needs so he finally got to attend school with all the other students. This opened up a whole new world for Adam who used to spend most days in his own little world inside his bedroom. While in his new school, Adam began taking an art class, but since he can only move his head, he had to paint with the brush in his mouth. He soon discovered a new passion and works very hard on mastering his art. Adam has a private art teacher who helps him achieve this dream. He was introduced to MFPA Full Member, Jeff LaDow and got accepted as a student mouth painter in the Association. In addition, Adam has received numerous awards for all of the obstacles he has overcome in his life.
Today, Adam lives with his parents and two older brothers in Jackson, Wisconsin. Besides art, Adam’s other passion is PGA golf. Every year he attends the PGA tournament at Brown Deer Park in Milwaukee and is even considered part of the tournament. He has sat on the 15th tee for 9 years now and is known by fans and even pro-golfers as “15th Tee Adam”. Adam’s love for golf can be seen through his art, as he mostly paints golf related themes in bright acrylics.
Pictured above: “Brown Deer Park 15th Hole” by Spenner