What Inspires You?
My Friend Has Reenforced My Belief That Anything Is Possible.....His Story Is Remarkable & Stunning!
Recently I made a new friend and am very excited about it. I’m proud to be friends with someone so remarkable.
His name is Dan Keplinger and he is a famous artist among many other talents.
A documentary about him called King Gimp won an Oscar in 2000. But what makes Dan so unique and amazing is how he produces such masterpieces, with the determination to bring it to life and give it meaning.
Born with cerebral palsy and very limited motor control, he passed all expectations and found his passion and expression through art. Whether it is a sculpture, chalk, or paintbrush on acrylic, there is no conventional way that Dan expresses.
When I first viewed some of Dan’s paintings I was very impressed, but when I saw how he paints, with a paintbrush attached to his forehead, I was astounded. It really is incredible.
Dan’s determination to not let his disability define or limit him is nothing short of heroic. Becoming a mentor to all those who have challenges, and anyone battling with inadequacy or limitations, his conviction demonstrates we can all live a prosperous and abundant life.
In his own words,
“At first glance, my work addresses my perception of society as a person with a disability. Objects such as my head-stick and my wheel chair are referenced in my artwork as symbols of my everyday obstacles. These pieces, however, are about much more than my disability. I morph and combine these objects with images of my body to create my own vocabulary, which pertains to different life circumstances. Self-perception can be one of the biggest challenges to overcome. No matter how much one explains their situation, we can never fully understand the extent of their individual circumstances, nor think as they do. Obstacles and challenges are a universal part of the human condition. We all face them in everyday life, yet we have the ability to choose how we approach them. Many of us are likely to get discouraged during the difficult times in our lives. In my work I hope to encourage viewers to realize that they have the ability to persevere.” - Dan Keplinger
For anyone who feels they are stuck in life, or at a crossroad of some sort, whether you are typical or special needs, I highly recommend you watch Dan’s documentary, King Gimp. I’m sure it will bring a new clarity, and possibly change your perspective on life.
One of my favourite pieces.
When I first talked to Dan and learned about all his great accomplishments, I instantly became a huge advocate and supporter.
Having a daughter with autism and a son who survived a critical heart defect with mild cerebral palsy, I felt I could identify with his story and strength to overcome.
Even though I wasn’t the one with special needs, my life as a mom wasn’t typical, or anything I had anticipated it would be. But it wasn’t long until I would understand I had a choice, and instead of wallowing in anguish, I became a much stronger person and transformed my experience into a larger purpose, just like Dan.
We have chosen to learn from adversity....to take our experiences and give them a purpose, to mentor others who follow in our footsteps and help them rise to their best potential.
Thanks Dan for sharing your gifts with us and demonstrating that despite your struggles, life can be wonderful....it’s our future to decide.
Here is a great link of Dan’s to check out:
Photo courtesy of Dan's Facebook page.