Ahipara mouth artist Kevin Griffiths' work is renowned around the world and now one of his paintings will feature on an international greeting card range.

The painting is on a greeting card included in the international range of the Mouth & Foot Painting Artists which is available worldwide.

Griffiths' painting is called Koi Fish and is a very good example of his love of colour which is often present in his paintings.

"I always like to use colour in my paintings and I have often admired the koi carp from Japan that have been bred for their colour for hundreds of years and are always a feature of the ponds of formal Japanese gardens,'' he said.

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Kevin Griffiths' painting 'Koi Fish' being used on an international greeting card range.
Kevin Griffiths' painting 'Koi Fish' being used on an international greeting card range.

"It is also a subject that I feel will be popular with the consuming public for the eye-catching colour of the greeting card, which I assume is why it has been selected by the adjudicating committee for sale to a worldwide audience."

He has been mouth painting for 25 years after he broke his neck and lost the use of his hands in a swimming accident at age 13.

Following his accident he continued his education and became interested in various forms of art, which inspired him to travel extensively throughout the world.

In 1991 Griffiths received the Bruce Hopkins Memorial Award, a competition that started to commemorate Bruce Hopkins' contribution to the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) and to artists with disabilities throughout New Zealand.

Since then he has received the coveted prize four times and he became an MFPA Student Member in 1992 and an Associate Member in 2001.

Members of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists gain their income through the sale of their paintings and 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 place mats, 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.

Go to mfpa.co.nz for more details of mouth artists in NZ.