Disabled Illinois Artist Creates Inspirational Work
Artist Overcomes Physical Disability To Aid Others
ALTON, Ill. (AP) — Artist John Tyler Dossett started painting 17-plus years ago when his Lewis and Clark Community College art instructor encouraged her students to simply try.
“Today class, we will paint,” Angel Weber would say to her students.
John at first replied, “I can’t paint.”
When Weber, a LCCC College for Life program instructor, heard this reply, she reassured Dossett that anyone can paint, planting a seed in the man about to become a budding artist.
Dossett, 42, didn’t believe he could paint during those formative years because he was born with a rare genetic condition known as Lesch- Nyhan, with a life expectancy of 18 years. It is not unlike cerebral palsy in that the person suffering this condition cannot control their muscles.
They also face other challenges, such as kidney stones. Dossett also is quadriplegic, with limited voluntary muscular control of his limbs.
Over the last 10 years, Dossett’s skill as an abstract painter has bloomed into a passion for helping others. Proceeds from his paintings are either donated or sold to different causes. The artist’s creative and charitable passion continues to grow, more than his family has ever expected. With a newfound “purpose,” Dossett channeled his inspiration to manifest more than 500 paintings.
“I would say John’s work has raised nearly $100,000 in the past few years,” said Dossett's father, Terry Dossett, a former Roxana High School art teacher.
Dossett described his son's art process as nothing short of amazing, and his creative process is probably not familiar to most.
“We first squeeze paint onto a paintbrush. John then uses his brush to paint onto the canvas, while his mom holds his elbow for support,” he explained. “I've seen him use his chin, and even his forehead, to coat the canvas with paint.”
Relay for Life and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation are among the organizations that have benefited from John's artistic talent.
John Dossett said he feels passionately about such causes. His efforts make an impact on those around him.
“He inspires me every day with the guts he has,” his dad said. “I actually believe John is an inspiration to all those he comes into contact with.”
Terry went on to speak about what he hopes people take away from experiencing John’s artwork.
“John's paintings are not representative, but are to evoke spiritual feelings, derived from biblical verses,” he said.
John's art will be ready for public viewing just in time for the holidays, at Jacoby Arts Center, with “Vibrant. Inspiring. Profound.” Artwork, such as ornaments and jewelry, will be ready for purchase, along with limited-edition prints. The exhibit runs through Saturday, Jan. 7.
Information from: The Telegraph, http://www.thetelegraph.com