Quadriplegic Artist Releases Astonishing 25-Year Retrospective in Story and Images
At the age of 26, Marcus C. Thomas suffered a skiing accident that broke his neck and left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. Six months into his rehabilitation, he took up a simple watercolor set and a paintbrush rigged to fit comfortably in his mouth. An activity that started as something to do for fun became his passion. Since the moment he discovered painting, Marcus Thomas has lived the artist’s life, transcending the limitations of his body, pushing beyond physical boundaries, and perfecting difficult techniques to capture profound and subtle images in color and light, from a hummingbird’s wing beat to the ocean’s heartbeat.
The 2012 release of the book, Flight of the Mind: A Painter’s Journey Through Paralysis honors the 25th anniversary of Marcus’ "rebirth" as an artist. Composed of a biographical narrative of Marcus’ life from childhood to present day and over 200 full-color reproductions of his paintings from the first bird calendars to his current work, the book chronicles Marcus’ remarkable life journey, from recreation major to a chair-bound painter, who soars to new heights through his imagination.
Marcus Thomas’ life and art are a testament to the resilient strength of the human spirit and the spirit of the natural world. His artwork has won awards and critical acclaim up and down the east coast and beyond, including three-time winner of Best in Show (2D) at the Naples Invitational Art Festival 2011-2013. His paintings have been featured in publications and news outlets in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. After winning the 2012 Christmas wine-label contest at The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, the estate will again feature his work on their special release 2013 Festival of Flowers wine label. The release of Flight of the Mind, his 25-year retrospective, has occasioned heightened world-wide interest in his work.
Flight of the Mind conveys a message for not only fellow artists and lovers of art, but for all who suffer a disability, for all caregivers, and for anyone struggling to make sense of a world that is both heartbreaking and lovely. About the book, contemporary artist Julie Speed writes, It’s just flat out amazing work and you certainly don’t need to know his story to admire his work. But read this book anyway. You’ll be amazed all over again.