Columbia, South Carolina - South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN) is featuring Artist Blakely Martin as part of the Spinal Cord Injury Awareness month program at the DDSN Central Office in Columbia. A selection of his work is on display on the first floor.
Martin, 43, was injured in a diving accident when he was 16 years old. “I was two weeks shy of my 17th birthday,” Martin recalled. “I remember diving and hitting my chin on the bottom where it sloped down into deeper water.”
Martin suffered a fracture in the C5 cervical vertebra and was initially, totally paralyzed from the neck down. After a series of stays in Greenville Memorial and Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation hospitals and multiple surgeries and long-term rehabilitation at the Shriners Hospital For Children in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he eventually regained limited use of his arms but his legs were still paralyzed.
Martin took up painting to pass the time, his father was a painter and encouraged him to give it a try. “I could only hold the brush for a short time with my arms due to the injury, but I learned that I could hold it steady for detailed work with my mouth.” Martin said. “I find painting rather therapeutic and it has become a way for me to sell a few of my creations to generate some income.”
Martin favors natural landscapes as his subjects and realism is his overall style. He generally finds inspiration from places he has seen or found via photos from the internet or publications. His recent work is featured at several local galleries in the Clinton, South Carolina, area.
“I’m interested in expanding my work into some of the larger metropolitan markets such as Charleston,” Martin explained.
Martin was recently sidelined due to an accidental injury, but he expects to return to painting soon. Interested art aficionados can contact Martin at email@example.com.