On this week’s Close Up, we visited artist Tommy Hollenstein at his studio. He told us about what it means to fulfill a dream he thought was lost, and what he hopes his art means to others.
Confinement to a wheelchair not an obstacle to creating artTwenty-nine years ago, Tommy Hollenstein was in a mountain biking accident that left him paralyzed and wheelchair bound, unable to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming an artist.
Twenty-nine years ago, Hollenstein was in a mountain biking accident that left him paralyzed and wheelchair-bound, unable to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming an artist.
He tried painting with a mouth stick, but didn’t enjoy it so he gave up on art for years – until the desire to immortalize his beloved service dog Weaver gave him an idea.
Hollenstein covered the tires of his wheelchair in paint and rolled over a canvas creating tracks which, next to Weaver’s paw prints, were meant to symbolize the many great days the two had shared side-by-side.
That was the first of Hollenstein’s many colorful paintings that are now sold and shown around the world.
“I want them to look at that painting without even knowing it was a disabled painter painting that,” Hollenstein said.
Like his dog Weaver once did, painting now gives Hollenstein freedom. “When I’m painting and I’m in the studio, I don’t even think about [that] I’m in a wheelchair.”