Our Stories

New Found Ability: From Trauma and Pain blooms a painter

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I am first generation born in raised in Wallingford CT. I attended Saint Michael’s College and earned a liberal arts degree in political science.

My current medical condition has been an on-going challenge.

A boat accident in 2015 resulted in a broken back, 2 injured wrists and shoulders.

To date, I have had 2 major back surgeries, 1 shoulder surgery, 2 left wrist surgeries and more surgeries scheduled.

I have had over 50 MRI’s and x-rays, more than 100 doctors visits,1,680 days of chronic pain, 25 spinal, wrist and shoulder injections, months of back, wrist and shoulder physical therapy, on-going therapist sessions, 130 prescriptions, over 3,000 pages of doctors notes and 0 days of yoga which I did every day.

A week after the accident, I began to have dreams in vivid color with hands moving paint in a frenetic manner.

Prior to this accident, I never painted, experiencing what was diagnosed as “Acquired Savant Syndrome” by Savant Syndrome psychiatrist Dr. Darold Treffert. (https://www.agnesian.com/blog/acquired-savant-accidental-genius).There are only 300 reported and documented case in the world.

Becoming an “accidental artist” was perhaps the best thing that could have ever happened to me from a traumatic event.

The daily pain I suffer melts away when I am in my studio.

I believe that it is more than a distraction. Painting triggers something in my brain to “block” the pain.

The methodology to my art is a spiritual and subconscious process.

I dream the colors and painting structures first, imprinting the image in my head.

In my studio, I sit on the floor, look at the negative space, and start to pick the colors from the shelf.

I line them together on the canvas giving him a “tangible” perspective of my dream.

My paintings usually start on the floor and then navigate the canvas to the wall to complete the piece.

Painting has become my passion and my life.

Through my art, my mission is not only to bring awareness to Acquired Savant Syndrome but to show people who have a traumatic experience, whether physical or metal that if they allow themselves to open up they may find the art and creativity that I believe is in all people.

For the past 4 years, I have made it part of my healing practice to travel under my doctor’s supervision and planning to paint in different parts of the world, urban, suburban and isolated locations including The Shacks in Provincetown, MA, Paris, Sao Paulo, Hamburg and Berlin.

My paintings are collected all over the world and I donate a portion of my art to help foundations with shared missions with their fundraising, The Human Rights Campaign,Born This Way Foundation and Positive Exposure.

My children, Justin, Elizabeth, John, Benjamin and grandson Elliot, along with my ex-wife Brenda and life partner Jim have held my hand and listened to my heart through this incredible journey.