Art can be created in many ways, shapes, and forms. But have you ever seen masterpieces produced with a typewriter?

Paul Smith was not your ordinary artist. Born in 1921 with spastic cerebral palsy, his motor skills were severely impaired, limiting both his speech and his control of a paintbrush or pen.

Looking for a creative outlet, at the age of eleven, Paul found that typewriters, although unorthodox, could actually create amazing artwork. Paul’s art varied from memories he had to places he visited, to famous pieces that he recreated.

Image: Typewriter artist Paul Smith, Lighthouse

Source: Paul Smith

In 1967, Paul moved into the Rose Haven retirement facility in Oregon, and astonished the workers there, not just with his dexterity, but also with his kindhearted and warm personality. Humble, considerate, and sincere, Paul made his way into the hearts Rose Haven’s staff. They became his family, and proud supporters of Paul’s ambition.

Despite his disability, Paul continued to create until very late in his life. Sadly, as he aged, his motor skills continued to deteriorate and he developed cataracts. As his cataracts worsened, he was forced to give up typewriter painting in 2004, three years before his death.

In the pursuit of passion…

Even with the odds stacked against him, Paul never lost sight of his desire to illustrate. Though he could not paint, sketch, or color in the traditional sense, this remarkable artist didn’t let his physical limitations constrain his creative spirit. He took his situation as a challenge to find something he could do. And he faced that challenge head on.

Doing what you love isn’t always easy, the road to success isn’t perfectly paved. Sometimes you have to forge your own way through. Although it’s hard, and some people give up along the way, it doesn’t mean that we have to. Paul’s heartwarming story is proof of that. Let this inspire you, let this push you forward, and let Paul’s boundless creativity and passion provoke that little spark of talent somewhere inside of you.

Be understanding, be passionate, be joyous. But most of all, be yourself.

-Bethany

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

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Notes:

  1. “Typewriter Artist.” YouTube. John Stofflet, 11 Dec. 2013. Web. 12 July 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svzPm8lT36o>.

Bethany is an editing and writing intern at Ever Widening Circles.