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To add a new posting, send an email to me at with a comment, question, story, photo, observation, etc. It will be posted below, shortly after the email is received. To comment on an existing posting, click on the "comments" command below the posting and type your comment. Your comment will show up immediately.   Pete Stemmer

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Typewriter Artist

Occasionally, I come across a story or an article that is not particularly related to the history of our area but feel that it is inspiring and worth including on the Blog. I got an email the other day from a church friend, Sister Gertie Blount, about such a story and thought I would share it with you. 

The story is about Paul Smith who passed away about three years ago at the age of 85. Paul was born with severe cerebral palsy which made even the simplest tasks in life difficult and, often, impossible. His parents were told that he had no chance of surviving infancy; however, Paul was able to cope with his problems and have a productive, meaningful life. Despite his severe handicap that kept him out of school, he developed a unique talent that touched and inspired millions. 

Paul at his "Easel"

With only a simple typewriter, perseverance, and a drive to be a productive member of society, Paul, who was unable to brush his teeth or button his shirt, was able to teach himself to "paint". His motor skills and coordination were so bad that he had to use his left hand to steady his right. Since he couldn't press two keys at the same time, he almost always locked the shift key and made his pictures using the symbols at the top of the number keys. His pictures were mostly based on the @, #, $, %, ^, &, (, ), _, and . symbols. 

As his mastery of the typewriter grew, Paul was able to develop techniques to create shadings, colors, and textures that made his artwork resemble pencil or charcoal drawings. He created hundreds of pictures over a span of almost seven decades.

A self portrait

Click on the arrow below to watch a video of Paul and his remarkable artwork. (Note: After video has played, you will have to refresh your screen to replay.)

Following are a few more samples of Paul's work. 

The next time you find yourself in a situation that seems insurmountable, hitch up your belt, think of Paul and move ahead! Also, a few prayers will also help, as the grace of God can flow through your life as it did through Paul's.

Pete S

1 comment:

  1. Pete, Thanks so much for sharing this man's talent. It is amazing and so beautiful.
    Elaine Mathis