23-year-old artist Henry Fraser is perhaps one of the most determined and committed artists I have recently encountered. In particular, his passion for art is awe-inspiring and he has proven his phenomenal ability to overcome the odds in the most incredible way ever.
When he was 17 years old, a brief moment changed his life forever when he was on vacation with his friends in Portugal. Diving into shallow surf the sea, the young man damaged his spinal cord, causing irreversible damage leaving him paralyzed from the shoulders down. Relating his story on his website, he says:
"All I did was run off the beach and dived into the sea when the damage was done. I remember banging my head on the seabed, I clearly misjudged my dive, and opening my eyes naturally expecting to be out of the water standing up but this was not the case. I opened my eyes to find I was face down floating in the sea with my arms hanging lifeless in front of me not being able to move anything from my neck down."
Yet the amazing thing is that while his life was tragically changed forever, his unwavering love for art remained. And he was determined to come up with a fantastic way to continue doing what he does best.
Creating art with his mouth instead of hands
Instead of putting pen to paper with his hands, Henry amazingly adapted to his disability by using a mouth-held stick instead.
Below is the first piece he created following his tragic accident:
If you're puzzled at how he achieves what he does, here's a short video showing us how he paints:
It's pretty incredible isn't it? After seeing this, it's understandable why Henry received the overwhelming support that he did from his followers. And now, there's simply no stopping him!
Although much of his work centers around sketching and painting athletes, his other art pieces are also causing a stir. In particular, this fantastic portrait of Harry Potter caught the eye of the Potterhead in me. Just look at how Henry navigates those brush strokes across the canvas as he paints the Boy Wizard:
I mean, this is seriously good! It's such a fantastic representation of this scene in the movie:
And none other than J. K. Rowling agreed, retweeting this drawing with a "Wow!"
With his admirable talent, Henry is undoubtedly a positive example for overcoming a crippling disability. For many of us, the impact of such an accident would have forced us to simply give up on our dreams, but in his refusal to do so, we are given a wonderful glimpse into how resilient the human spirit can be.
Currently, Henry says he is trying to create two pieces a week, as well as focusing on putting together an exhibition of his work to raise funds for a trust in his name.
We should all learn from this phenomenal man's unbreakable creative spirit!