ADVICE TO EMERGING ARTISTS:

            My advice to emerging artists in the disability community is to keep learning from everyone you can. I've always said that disabilities should be treated as lived experiences, not just medical conditions. I'm always a little amazed when someone asks me if I've ever wished I could walk. My answer is no, but I was born with cerebral palsy. I can only expand my perspective by working with other people. Otherwise, it's just like asking me if I've ever thought about levitating. It's a nice thought, but not practical to my perspective.

    But, if we automatically reject opportunities from outside perspectives, our art will never grow. I've seen a lot of changes in disability culture. I've learned about person-first language. I've learned it's not always easy to navigate the world. But, that shouldn't stop us from learning, improving, and helping the disability community. I'm still growing and learning.

   As an advocate, I want my art to reflect my improvements, feelings, experience, and desire. All these things are my inspirations. As Bob Ross said “We do not mistakes.” in art. So, my advice is to just keep moving forward. It's the only way you can improve. You can even hate your earlier work, and use that feeling as an impetus to get better and better! When I started doing art “officially”, I started on MS Paint, and I've learned to work with all different mediums since then.

   My advice is to learn from others. Keep adding to your opportunities. No matter what your abilities are, it is important that you never stop moving forward. Ask someone today what their life is like! Maybe it will give you something new and exciting to work with! I'm always grateful to learn new skills...and it might be exactly because I'm limited physically, but not in spirit! Art is where we all can show ourselves to be powerful. We are stronger as a community of people with disabilities than as a single person.

Picture of Chris, close up with his smiling face filling the right side.