Born in a different era, digital artist Astro Saulter's life could have easily taken a radically different path. Without the emergence of design tools like Inkscape and Macromedia Freehand, Saulter, born with cerebral palsy, might have been unable to do what he loves best. With limited mobility, the Jamaican-born innovator has been saved from a life without creation by the use of a system called EZ-Keys, which allows him to use a head switch on the back of his wheelchair to engage his computer hands-free. Through the vectorscape capabilities of Inkscape, the 34-year-old artist can design a range of shapes and patterns, producing works that add to the broader art dialogue, and take part in the digitized aesthetic that's become so hugely popular internationally. Above, the artist at home in Negril, Jamaica explains how he creates his pieces, and what it means to him to be able to express himself through this digital medium.
Multi Meat Burger by Astro Saulter
Drawing on inspiration ranging from politics, geography, women, and everyday objects, Saulter also touches on intimate subjects like his late mother, who fostered an independent and creative spirit in Saulter. In the film above, Saulter and his brother explain how their mother was a highly unique woman who helped Saulter see he could overcome his physical limitations and pursue his passions.
(Above: Astro with his father and late mother.)
A segment of the population whose physical needs usually command more attention than their creative needs, Saulter's work brings a focus to the hidden artistic worlds inside those often marginalized by society.
Prior to modern technology, an artist like Saulter would have had to rely entirely on caretakers and assistants to help even with the most basic tasks. Today he's able to spend hours in his studio expressing himself through design. Being able to partake in the creation experience and develop his techniques autonomously through his computer has filled Saulter with immense joy and pride.
According to Astro's artist statement:
"I believe that there is art in every single one of us, and we all have our own unique way of creating art…There is nothing in the world that gives me more pleasure or joy than drawing and creating something beautiful and sharing it with the world and having people enjoy and appreciate it."
Check out a gallery of Astro Saulter's work below:
Paul by Astro Saulter
Watermelon by Astro Saulter
Inventation by Astro Saulter
Courtesy of Astro Saulter
Thunderstorm by Astro Saulter
Gaining attention both at home and abroad, currently Saulter is part of a group show at the National Gallery of Jamaica through September 30th.