“Typewriter artist” created hundreds of gorgeous paintings

People with disabilities are often experts at finding ways to accomplish their goals using adaptive nontraditional methods. Paul Smith was no different. Born with cerebral palsy, Smith had an interest in art from an early age, but was unable to use common artistic tools such as paintbrushes or pencils. Growing up in the early 20th century, Smith turned to the typewriter as the pathway for expressing himself. Working with only the symbol keys, of which there are about ten, Smith created incredible works of art, including depictions of scenes from his childhood, religious figures, and replicas of classic art pieces. Smith lived the second half of his life in Rose Haven Nursing Center, in Oregon, which gave him the opportunity to share his art with the friends he made there. Although Smith passed away in 2007, many of his pieces still hang on the walls at Rose Haven. Known as the “Typewriter Artist,” Smith leaves behind a legacy of lasting accomplishments thanks to finding a way to follow his passion.

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Emily Pate is a third-year student at Seattle University interested in Strategic Communications, learning Spanish, and working with non-profits. Her work for Rooted In Rights is focused on discussing current events in the community of people with disabilities. Her experience previous to Rooted In Rights includes writing broadcasts for KBOO radio in Portland, OR, and managing a neighborhood blog in the Seattle community. In addition to work, Emily enjoys drawing, spending time with her friends and family, and backpacking.