My name is Mariam and I am a visual artist and member of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA).
My artistic interests are constantly morphing as I like to experiment with traditional oil painting and modern mixed media techniques. A few times a year I exhibit my works in galleries, the details of which are posted on my Mariam Paré Art & Design Facebook page as they get scheduled. I paint in my home studio in the western suburbs of Chicago, and continue to divide my artistic output between portraits, landscape, and semi-abstract modes.
People ask me how I started painting with my mouth... The answer is, I've been making art in some form or another my whole life. I have been drawing and painting since I was a little girl and have focused on art all through school. When I was 20 I became the victim of gun violence. I was shot by an unknown assailant while driving a friend's car.
It was an all-too-real example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I sustained a C5/C7 spinal cord injury that rendered me quadriplegic. My life was never the same again. The injury left me with only limited function in my hands and permanently unable to walk. I had a 5 month long rehabilitation process, during which I had to relearn to do almost everything I had previously taken for granted. Painting was one of those things I discovered that I could still do, but just in a different way.
So began my new artistic journey as a "mouth painter".
The new way in which I was painting with my mouth was very different from what I was formerly taught to do with my hands in art school. I could utilize some of the same techniques, but from a physical standpoint there was a lot that was different. There wasn't much written on the art of mouth painting nor people I could look to for instruction about it, so learning to paint with my mouth was a bit experimental at first. I taught myself through trial and error and incorporated my previous artistic knowledge when I could. In the long run all those challenges were worth it. Being able to paint and express myself artistically again gave me the renewed purpose in my life which I very much needed at that time.