The ability to adaptis the reason that Keir Coxhead is able to pursue his passion of art but is also his message of inspiration for people in a similar situation to him.
Spinally-injured at C4, Keir immersed himself into art as part of his recovery process. His passion for art quickly surpassed a simple rehabilitation tool and became an obsession. At the core of Keir’s art is the desire to constantly challenge himself and defy societies expectations of high-level spinal injuries.
Paralysed from the neck down with limited movement in his arms, every piece of artwork that Keir creates starts with the adaption of utensils. The challenge of creating the perfect utensil for a project is almost as satisfying as creating the artwork itself. Overcoming challenges to create something beautiful is what drives Keir and is a message that he is keen to convey to other spinally-injured creatives.
Although Keir uses a wide range of mediums, his true passion lies in the application of paint directly onto canvas using his hands. Hyper-sensitivity means that Keir has increased sensation in his hands. In his day-to-day life, this can cause intense pain and discomfort. However, when painting, Keir can immerse himself in the material and enjoys the texture and temperature of the materials he uses.
Keir has hosted a series of art classes with Stoke Mandeville Hospital, the largest spinal-injury unit in the UK. His story of overcoming adversity, challenging the norms of spinal injury and his passion for creative art has inspired others to push themselves to achieve more than they ever thought possible post-spinal cord injury.
“In life, we all have problems. The ability to adapt to and overcome these problems, I believe, is something that everyone can do. My outlet is creativity and artwork; however, the same principles apply to many different challenges that a spinally-injured person faces.”
This is the Leicestershire-born artist’s debut exhibition. Keir is looking forward to displaying his artwork and talking to visitors about his methods, his inspiration and his life.