Finding New Ways to Express My Art After SCI

I’ve been doing graffiti actively for over 20 years. Most of that time was before my accident. Today, I am a C3 and C4 quadriplegic. I use a power chair with iLevel® technology for mobility and to maintain my independence.

How I Got into Graffiti Art

You may know how I originally got into graffiti from previous blog posts. I started off with sketching with my hands and learned how to shape letters. I discovered the different traits of graffiti through other people’s experiences. From there, I started to develop my own style. I learned how to incorporate letters, colors and other styles to make my tag stick out. This way, people know who it is when they see your art.

Creating Graffiti with Spray Paint

Controlling spray paint is not like any other feeling. You can manipulate it, blend it with other colors. Plus, there’s ways you can make your own caps. Now, you can buy any kind of cap you want for spray paint cans. Today’s colors are so much vibrant compared to what it was when I was younger.

Mouth Painting with a Brush vs. Spray Paint

Fast forward to after my accident. I had to relearn how to sketch and paint. I started using a paintbrush for the first time on canvas. This was a different texture, a different kind of paint and just a whole new world for me. It’s so different from spray paint. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m so appreciative for my abilities and being a mouth painter. I’m still learning, even after 12 years. Unfortunately, mouth painting doesn’t feel the same as spray painting. Yes, I can mix and manipulate colors but it doesn’t have the same feel. A spray can has so much more grace that can create shapes in the sprays. There’s nothing else like it.

At the end of the day, if it wasn’t for my love for graffiti, sketching and putting in the work, and then upgrading to spray paint, I would never have found a way to sketch and paint with my mouth. So, if it wasn’t for my past, I would not be able to continue doing what I love to do.

About Jesse Cuellar: Jesse is an artist and a brand ambassador for Quantum Rehab®. An accident left him paralyzed from the neck down, so he uses his mouth to paint and expresses himself through his art. Jesse lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and enjoys painting and hanging out with his friends. Click here to learn more about Jesse.


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