Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Disabled engineer turns his life around with digital art

From The Times in the UK:

A former engineer left disabled and living on benefits has turned his life around after a stroke rewired his brain and turned him into an artist.

Ken Walters, 51, suffered multiple spine fractures and severe internal injuries when he was crushed against a wall by a fork-lift truck when a driver lost control in 1986. The accident left him wheelchair-bound and jobless, and triggered a 19-year depression as he scraped a living on disability benefits. Two serious heart attacks deepened his gloom.

When things looked like they could not get any worse, he suffered a stroke in 2005. However, the cerebral hemorrhage turned out to be a piece of good fortune because it “rewired” part of his brain and opened up an artistic flair he showed no signs of before. Now, after his early doodles developed into advanced digital images, Mr Walters has created his own software and has been contracted by EA games, the computer company.

He has created digital creatures, such as a flipfloat, (a digital underwater dragon image), for a new educational game on evolution. Mr Walters, who has earned £30,000 so far, said at his home in Ormskirk, Lancashire: “Wherever this new love for art has come from it’s certainly changed my life for ever.”