Mouth and Foot Painting artist's work goes worldwide

Painting with his mouth isn't holding one South Auckland man back from being an international artist.

Artist Wayne Te Rangi's painting has been used to illustrate a Christmas card which was included in the range of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) and will be sold worldwide.

The painting is called Papa Aroha and is of Te Rangi's favourite fishing spot in the Coromandel, and is famous for its green lip mussels and oysters as well as snapper and kingfish.

He said it is a great place to paint and because it has beautiful scenery and stunning sunsets.

Te Rangi enrolled in art classes as part of his rehab following his accident. Photo / Doug Sherring
Te Rangi enrolled in art classes as part of his rehab following his accident. Photo / Doug Sherring

Te Rangi was injured in a freak work accident in 1985 which left him a tetraplegic. As part of his rehab he enrolled in art classes at the Otara Spinal Unit in Auckland. There he quickly developed the skill of mouth-painting and went on to win many awards and scholarships.

He enjoyed painting landscapes, still-life and animals.

Te Rangi received a scholarship in 1991 and was accepted as a MFPA Student member. In the same year he won 'Best Amateur' and 'Most Promising Artist' in the Bruce Hopkins Awards and went on to win Awards in 2001, 2004 and 2005.

Mouth artist Wayne Te Rangi's painting has been used to illustrate a Christmas card and will be sold worldwide. Photo / Doug Sherring
Mouth artist Wayne Te Rangi's painting has been used to illustrate a Christmas card and will be sold worldwide. Photo / Doug Sherring

Members of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists gain their income through the sale of products illustrated with their paintings and although this started with Christmas cards, today it includes a wide list of products ranging from special occasion cards, jigsaws, tea sets, address books, calendars, Christmas serviettes and placemats, gift tags and wrapping paper.

Founded in 1956 by a group of European artists, the MFPA is a self-help organisation which gives people with disabilities the opportunity to fulfil their creative ambitions while still maintaining financial independence by selectively selling their artworks.

The MFPA was established in New Zealand in 1961 and currently has 22 members around the country.

To become a student member an artist must qualify by painting using a brush held in either their mouth or foot, having lost the use of their hands through an illness or accident. Student members receive scholarships for art supplies and tuition. Once an artist becomes a full member or associate they are guaranteed a salary for life, even if they are unable to continue painting.

- NZ Herald

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