At the age of 13 I dove into a swimming pool and hit the side of the pool breaking my neck at C5/6 and became a Quadriplegic. I had just started high school so after my rehabilitation I had to change high schools because my old school was not accessible for my wheelchair.
I stayed at school until the end of the 6th form and was undecided on what I would do. I thought it would be great to travel and see some of the world. I went to Europe on my OE and whilst I was there I saw lots of street artists creating wonderful paintings. I came home and met some Mouth Painting Artists at the Spinal Unit and thought this would be fun to try as Art had been my favorite subject at school. I was encouraged by the late Bruce Hopkins, Alex Craig and Pete Van-der Hulst as well as Board Member Grant Sharman to apply to the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists to become a Mouth Painting Student.
I received a scholarship in 1992 and in 2001 I became an Associate Member. I enjoy painting with lots of colour to create depth and movement and in general most of my paintings are in acrylic, although I also enjoy water colour and oil painting. I paint a variety of subjects that appeal to me. I have had many of my paintings reproduced all over the world as Christmas cards, Wrapping paper, Greeting cards, Placemats, Serviettes and Jig saw puzzles.
I have won numerous art awards in New Zealand including the Bruce Hopkins Memorial Award, the Royal Easter show Art Awards as well as winning the Gold medal of the ‘Royal Agricultural Society’ at the NZ Royal Easter Show.
I also have an interest in travelling and have been lucky to have traveled all over the world with my partner Emma. Fishing is another big passion of mine as we live right on the beach. I get out and go game fishing on my friends boat where I use an electric fishing reel which gives me as much chance as anybody of catching great fish. I also have an Electric Kontiki and a Drone that are both set up for fishing. I use a 6X6 Explorer All Terrain Electric Wheelchair to enjoy all the aspects of the beach.
Life has been fantastic to me and working for the MFPA has given me a great quality of life, it has enabled me to follow my passion of painting, as well as giving me financial security.