A truly inspiring story about a man, whose physical disabilities didn’t prevent from creating beautiful things. Odis Craig has become paralyzed during the pickup football game he was playing with his friends, and he was rushed off on a stretcher. As a result a tacker turned wrong and snapped his third and fourth cervical vertebrae, which made him paralyzed from shoulders and down. But luckily the mind remained in a perfect shape and Craig’s motto “knowledge is the power” became needed like never before.
After a number of physical rehabilitation, the therapist advised Craig to try art like a form of a therapy. He started to study at University of California State Fullerton and has been working slowly on every class for 11 years. In 2012, the veteran at age 61 has graduated with a Masters of Art in painting and drawing.
It is extremely difficult to imagine how a person can actually draw without using his hands, but Craig has another trick which he mastered by using a mouth pick affixed to an easel, which can easily clamp to his wheelchair’s arm. The artist recalls that during his studying, he was the only one handicapped in the class and everybody kept wondering on how do I manage to paint like that. The answer was brilliant: “I am just trying man, like you are”.
The best quality of Crag is probably his smile and positivism, which is infectious and inspiring in spite of all his disabilities, his attention to the details in the class and focus in the studio. He usually paints realistic landscapes with bold blue tones, but also has mastered his skills in painting portraits of strong African American public figures.