Kevin Griffiths a New Zealand mouth painting artist from Ahipara has a painting called ‘Coastal Poppies’ which has been selected to illustrate a greeting card included in the international range of the Mouth & Foot Painting Artists which is available to a world-wide market.
Kevin said that the inspiration for the painting came from several sources.
“The overall scene is a painting of Auckland Harbour with Rangitoto Island in the distance.
“On this I have superimposed a selection of red, yellow and white poppies, which is a flower I’ve always loved as the petals are so soft and colourful and I remember that a close friend had pink ones in his garden a number of years ago when I lived in Auckland.
“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 world-wide audience.
“In fact, I also think of poppies around Anzac Day as my birthday is on the actual day,” Kevin said.
The choice of a painting of poppies is also a good choice as an illustration for an ‘all occasion’ card as it is a flower liked by all.
As well as ‘all occasion’ cards, the mid-year range of cards from MFPA, which will be sent out widely to consumers in New Zealand and Australia, comprises gift wrapping paper, place mats, puzzles, playing cards and jigsaws with all the products illustrated with paintings by artists who paint by holding the brush in their mouth or with their foot.
The jigsaws are proving to be very popular during home isolation with sales up more than fifty percent.
Kevin has now been mouth painting for 25 years after he broke his neck and lost the use of his hands in a swimming accident at age thirteen. 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 Kevin was awarded the Bruce Hopkins Memorial Award, a competition that started over 20 years ago to commemorate Bruce Hopkins’ contribution to the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (MFPA) and to artists with disabilities throughout New Zealand. Since that time he has received the coveted prize four times.
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.
Released for MFPA by Dennis Rutzou Public Relations