2017 National Mature Media Award WINNER

2017 National Mature Media Award WINNER
The Creative Landscape of Aging Wins a NMMA Award!


Thursday, December 31, 2015


Disabilities promote challenges to invent new approaches, new  methods and new passion to make art. Not easy but the rewards are tremendous for those determined to engage in a creative life. 

Adaptation is a process of finding one's artistic voice. Whether born with handicaps or acquiring them during their lifetime, determination and resourcefulness will pave the path for talent to blossom. For those who were successful artists, they need to reinvent their approach and sometimes their art. 

For example, when Matisse became very sick in his older years and could no longer stand to paint, he used invention to push forward. Since he was bedridden, he had to find a way to continue to draw so he fashioned a fishing pole with a piece of charcoal at the end of the stick. He used this to draw on his walls and ceilings but soon became frustrated by the absence of color. That propelled him to develop these massive color assemblages. Working from his wheelchair and employing assistants to place the components as he directed on the wall, this series of works became his most successful art.

Of the many organizations dedicated to disabled artists, the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists hold a roster of extraordinary artists and their work. Because of physical disabilities, these artists paint with a brush in their mouths or feet. The site is for profit to showcase and support the exceptional talent. Additional resources for disabled artists include, but are not limited to, the following:

VSA-the International Organization on Arts and Disability

Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts

National Arts and Disability Center

Some visual artists who are disable and have achieved great creative success include:

Jeff Bevis became a quadriplegic at a young age. Despite a host of problems related to this condition, he graduated college and developed his skills to become a fabulous photographer who has had numerous exhibitions.

As an autistic savant, Stephen Wiltshire did not speak until he was 9 years old. But soon after, he started drawing architectural landscapes often remembering many details from having seen the buildings just briefly. Stephen has become world famous for his art.

Born in South Korea, Erin Ellis was adopted by an American family. Having cerebral palsy defined set hurdles for her in reaching creative success.She began by using her mouth to color pictures and then developed her skills as an artist.

With no lower arms or right foot, Simon Mark Smith creates remarkable paintings, teaches digital photography, writes poetry and develops websites. Yes and he is also a talented singer-songwriter!

Life challenges happen. Sometimes you are born with an identified challenge and at other times you develop the physical/emotional provblem from a disease and accident or through the aging process. The artists profied are just some of the many creative individuals who have jumped over early hurdles to develop their talent and themselves.

A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. Christopher Reeve