Tuesday, December 30, 2014

To My Supports,


 The end of the year is coming soon and I would to thank everyone who has made an inquiry into a speaking engagement. I am especially grateful to those who have invited me to their schools and organizations.  It may be a spark for others to follow their passion in life, but your positive responses also regenerates me after an appearance.  My recently those travels included a live painting demonstration at a DC Metro Theater, a panel at the United Nations, as well as an trip to China for a international art exhibit.

What should you expect upon an inspirational speaker? With me, there are no prepared scripts instead offering a spontaneous journey of life experiences.  I often find that a cookie cutter outline which most keynote presenter’s use is not as personal.  If your schedule would allow it, I could also provide a drawing demonstration of how my artwork is created.  The silver lining in an engagement focuses on my accomplishments but more importantly I want each viewer to be more inspired by every-day journey.

“King Gimp” was a story that so many could relate to.  It was about finding placement in life with independence, family, friends, education, breaking barriers and molding passions.  True love was in raw form making each viewer understand the parallel within their own life.  The challenges of my disability became a mystery of how I was able to defeat the odds.  “If Dan can…so can I” became one of my most favorite responses.  Truly, I am amazed how a humble hometown man can be ‘the reason’ to such inspiration.  Passion is unveiled being a keynote speaker. My art and live presentations brings thoughts out of my isolation.        

I assure you this experience is worthy of your investment.  Please fellow my adventures at https://www.facebook.com/kinggimpthoughts I look forward to reconnecting…   

Sincerely,
Dan Keplinger/King Gimp


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Above The Sky

Above The Sky Line, 5/9/06 Mixed Media on Canvas 44.5 x 61.5

At a glance my work seems to be about my perception in society and how I overcome it. I include images of my wheelchair and other objects that help me through life because they are a major part of my daily life.  I morph these images with images of my body to create my own vocabulary.  However, these pieces are about much more than my disability. Obstacles and challenges are a universal part of the human condition. We all face them in everyday life, although, we have a choice as to how we deal with them. Many of us are likely to get discouraged during difficult times in our lives. In my work I hope to show everybody that they have the ability to persevere. 

At the time my theme of my work was the obstacles we face our daily life and how we choice to deal with them. The building are meant to represent steps, since I was have elevator problem at school that kept me from getting to my studio. There were days when I left my electric chair on the lower floor and just butt climb up to my studio. I was in the mindset of King Kong climbing around on builds. I was so powerful to over come that and nothing could get in my way.


The windows, or portals in the shy are the different choices we have to deal with our problems. Of course we never know if we are making the right until after the fact, but is just a part of life. Life is just a trail and error, we are learning on the way through the journey of life.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Disability Awareness at University of Maryland

We had a good day today at Rise Above", a student-lead symposium on disabilities, College Park MD! Although it was an emotional drive, thinking about my brother, Paul since his tattoo shop was right off of campus. I hope we set the bar high, because this was the first symposium they had on campus for disability awareness. I was excited to see how many students take this class by their own interest and not because it was require.
I was very impressed by the other presenter, because their report were personal even though it was class projects. They did not only report the fact, but also told stories to keep the audience interested.
If the next generation is create disability awareness, because they want to, I see a lot of promise for the disability movement in the future!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Gimp Mafia

When our Friend Gayle Hafner pasted away, I started to think of the gimp brotherhood as a mob. Seeing all of the different people that came to pay their respects to Gayle and Crosby for how much they have done for the disability movement. People often underestimate the power of person in a chair. When there is a problem, we just know the right people to contact to take of the situation. Not that we put hits out on people, although sometimes it would be nice. Even in the disability community, we have different concerns and ways of doing things and when I go to different events it feels like a meeting of the families.

Although we all want create a society, we have our difference ways of carrying out this task and could not do it without our Ninjas!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Gimp’s Dilemma

The other week I rode with Wifey to her work’s office to drop off some paper work on the way to my studio since they are closed to each other. As always she leaves the car running while I sit in the car, so I can turn the music on or adjust the temperature if needed. It was a warm, but it was enough just to have the windows open.

As I was sitting there were some other employees started to gather, because they have a policy not to leave the car running while their clients sit in car.  I am trying to talk with this guy and women that approached my window.  To make a long story short, the guy figured out whom I was and I was there with my Wifey.

I could understand they were only doing their job, but I really wanted to tell the woman to kiss off since her attitude was so offensive. Does she really assume that everyone that has a disability can only be a client? To mean that is saying no one with a disability can be her equal. The thing that really got me steamed is as I was talking, I was spraying.  Under her breath I heard her say, I hope he does not have anything contagious?

I really wanted to tell her, she needs a new freak’n job! First she was acting like I had no idea what she was saying and second she was scared to be around me. If you have no passion, or compassion for people with disabilities, you need to get out of this field.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Is Wealth From Money, or Taking Care of People?

I lived in Virginia Towers, Towson, MD from 1997 to 2007 and what I have been hearing and observing in the past few weeks has been frustrating and disturbing. The other week we dropped our friend of on a Saturday night after a nice evening out and to my shock the visitor parking was full of valet parking for the new movie complex and the mall.

Yes, the Towers are subsidized apartment building for people with disabilities and the elderly. Since the parking lot was full of cars from people that are out for a night of entertainment, there is no parking for visitors coming to the towers. In the long run the residents will be the one that will stuffer, because people will be more hesitant to come see them due to the cost of parking, or the fear of being towed.

The other concern that has risen due to this new parking restriction is that any one in the building who has a personal care assistant could loose their help. Now the PCA has pay to park, or be towed and this might be half of their paycheck. Most people know that PCAs get pay next to nothing and now they will be talking home even less due to pay parking. Surely this will impact the quality of care being provided, why pay a towing bill that is more than one’s paycheck. I think the different agencies need to get involve to not only protect their clients, but also their employees!

Getting backing to the night we took our friend home, just because the residents of Virginia Towers get a break on rent does not mean they have no rights to parking. If this was happening at any other complex, the residents would be outrage. On my way home, I was sadden to see people are putting the opportunity to make extra income over the well being of people.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Artist Are Researchers Too



Bird 2014, Pastel on canvas 40in. X 38in. This is a very experimental piece, I was trying to combined two images that I work with often. I did an under drawing of the wheelchair icon and tried to blend it into parts of the eye. I think, I should play play with these two images in photoshop to develop it more.

I feel like PDWs have a sixth sense, as a way to protect them self from bad people. Would most people trust someone with banking information, or the things in daily life that wrong person could do a lot of damage with?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Improved to Art Demo

Brianna and I went to Towson Arts @ Ellen "Brit" Christiansen Memorial Fund (EBC)‪ Arts Center‬ for our weekly studio session yesterday and we were joined by a group of people from the The League for People with Disabilities, Inc. They saw the spot on WJZ this week and decided to come see the Art Show, not knowing that I would be there.

This is part of why I have a studio there, so I can answer any questions they might have and show people even thou this is not a typical "job" there is a need for places as this to bring the the community together on an equal ground. I would say they stayed for about an hour and the whole time the group was asking good questions.

Before they left their staff said, the he would like to return next week with another group because this would be a valued experience for all of his clients.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Some Tech Questions for The King

Here are some questions I just answer for a group of IT students.

What are some difficulties that you face while doing your art?
Most recently the problem that I have been having is sweating, my hair gets wet and my headstick falls.  Really the big problem that I face is when I try new mediums and have to figure out how to attach it to my headstick, or how too use it to my needs. This goes for any time I get a new piece of equipment, there is always a period of debugging.

Do you think that a robotic arm would make it easier for you to do art?
I think a robotic arm will be the same idea as using a computer for art and communicating. It takes out the human factor out of the process; maybe I just have not found the right software yet.

Do you think that a classroom environment would affect the way someone with cerebral palsy would learn art?
There is a need for both classroom and studio time, every artist needs to interact with their peers. This provides an environment of growth, to see what other student are doing and share ideas. Even if the disabled student does not produce art during class time, they might be thinking about how the conversations relate to the art. Just because someone is not an active participant in the group, does not take away from the value of being included.

Do you think that an electric wheelchair would help you do your art?
I have seen videos of people that attached paintbrushes to chairs and just drive their chairs around the canvas to make the marks. I have thought about getting a huge canvas and put paint on my wheels and make marks on the canvas. It would just be something to try. How would you really control where the marks go to create the image that you want. One would have to work from the center out and really have to plan everything out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Spiritual Journey Chengdu, China


I knew that going to China would be a spiritual journey, but not in the form that it took. I was thinking that we would take a day trip to a Buddhist Temple, but sadly there was no time for that. Mr. Joe had everyday book up for us, we would leave the hotel at 9 a.m. and not get back until 10 at night. We at least we able to see a sample of the Buddhist tradition and at the shrine in town. Greg and I did light a candle for my brother Paul. It only seem fitting since when Paul was young people in the family would call him Buddha and when he opened his tattoo shop, he had a collection of Buddha figures. How more respect could it be than light a candle at a shrine, but he would rather it be done at a temple.

One night Mr. Joe took the Artists out for dinner, but before that  he invited us to his private studio. To me this was like going to his inner sanctum, this is where the master does his work and produces master pieces. Greg and I were talking and Mr. Joe's art has the status of what most Artists receive after death. So we walk into his basement that would be the size of a full school gym. There were crates full off his work and in the middle of the room he a few table but together covered with brushes, books and tubes of paint. I was just sitting there amazed by this sight, I was over come by all of this.  Then over in the corner I saw Mr. Joe's paint palette, I approached it as one would do as an alter, because this is where it all starts. This is the tool that lets him earn the type of living that lets him give back to his community and that brought as all together.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Peer Respect Chengdu, China


Before I continue on about our epic Chengdu adventure and I know that it will takes weeks for me to purge all of this goodness.  I would like to give a big thanks to Gregory Burns, without his input none of this would have been possible. Greg told the foundation about me when they asked about other disabled artist in America. Greg and I met in 2001 during a show for the Orthopedic Associate on the West coast, he said we also met at the Kennedy Center. Although we only have had frequent contact over the years, I must have made a real impression on him. His art career is where I strive to be, painting and speaking around the world.  I know he has just opened a new door for me and this will not be our only trip to Chengdu.  By the second night, I ask "how does my ass get an artist residency here"? If I do not go back with 5 Colours Foundation, it would be with the US Consulate. They were not only interested me as an Artist, but with my whole story. Even through Wifey likes to take the back seat, we were told that everyone was intrigued with our story. 
Last night Wifey and I had a few beers after our travels and I think we will be redoing this trip within a years, but Wifey gives it six months. I know Greg not only opened a new market on my art, but also a chapter of adventures. 

A Little Tour of Chengdu China

Before our events officially started Greg and Angie had time to take us to the town's garden and a market. Greg has been traveling Asia for 30 year as an Artist with a disability and met his Wife, Angie 17 years ago. We know it would not be easy going through the garden and shrine, but it was worth the task. When we did get stuck, surprisingly there was no problem getting help. For example, Greg would ask some guys to help get my chair up some stairs, he would just get to say "can you help my" and each time two, or three guys would just lift me and my chair up. The four of us were not expecting this willingness, but it was welcoming. We then went through a market for the experience, there was a man and his Wife that made decorative gourds. He wanted to give me one, not out of pity but as a sign of respect from one Artist to another. It turn out that he saw my artwork in the local paper. The gallery opening that I was invited to for is part of a bigger Art Festival that runs until the of October.

Trip to Chengdu China and Five Colours Foundation


  We just got back from Chengdu, China last night.  It was a life changing trip and I know this will not be our last trip there. Mr. Zhou Chunya aka Mr. Joe is one of the top 5 artist in China and built an Artists village after the earth quakes.  He also started the  5 Colours foundations for artists with disabilities. Mr. Joe is the gentleman in the back row in the blue to my left. Blue Roof Art Festival showcases influence of Chengdu collective


Before our events officially started Greg and Angie had time to take us to the town's garden and a market. Greg has been traveling Asia for 30 year as an Artist with a disability and met his Wife, Angie 17 years ago. We know it would not be easy going through the garden and shrine, but it was worth the task. When we did get stuck, surprisingly there was no problem getting help. For example, Greg would ask some guys to help get my chair up some stairs, he would just get to say "can you help my" and each time two, or three guys would just lift me and my chair up.  The four of us were not expecting this willingness, but it was welcoming.  We then went through a market for the experience, there was a man and his Wife that made decorative gourds. He wanted to give me one, not out of pity but as a sign of respect from one Artist to another. It turn out that he saw my artwork in the local paper. The gallery opening that I was invited to for is part of a bigger  Art Festival that runs until the of October.


Before I continue on about our epic Chengdu adventure and I know that it will takes weeks for me to purge all of this goodness.  I would like to give a big thanks to Gregory Burns, without his input none of this would have been possible. Greg told the foundation about me when they asked about other disabled artist in America. Greg and I met in 2001 during a show for the Orthopedic Associate on the West coast, he said we also met at the Kennedy Center. Although we only have had frequent contact over the years, I must have made a real impression on him. His art career is where I strive to be, painting and speaking around the world.  I know he has just opened a new door for me and this will not be our only trip to Chengdu.  By the second night, I ask "how does my ass get an artist residency here"? If I do not go back with 5 Colours Foundation, it would be with the US Consulate. They were not only interested me as an Artist, but with my whole story. Even through Wifey likes to take the back seat, we were told that everyone was intrigued with our story. 
Last night Wifey and I had a few beers after our travels and I think we will be redoing this trip within a years, but Wifey gives it six months. I know Greg not only opened a new market on my art, but also a chapter of adventures. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

ACC Device still lagging Behind

I think its interesting that the AARP has a commercial  to promote the use of technology and social media to keep in touch with family and to interact with others. So I look up ACC Device to see if they offer text and social media functions and I could not find any. I was told that an ACC device would let me be part of the community. Sad but true, we live in a society that people text/message when they are in the same. I look up some ACC Device and they are become more tablet like, I hope the next generation of ACC user would expect to text and use social media on their devices. This is like giving me a new set of paints, but brushes!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Damn CP Crip!



When I go shopping with Wifey, or someone we look like a train because I hold onto the back of the cart and the person can pull us both. Today Wifey and I went shopping for snackage and beverages for the studio. On our way out of the store, my front wheel of my chair got stuck in the sidewalk crack, but Wifey kept going and I could not let go! So my ass took a dive in slow motion. That is the thing about knowing how to fall and not fighting it, you just end up with a scratch or two. This way you can just bounce back up from it before people can start flipping out.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

KINGDOM TO KINDNESS - Let the MAGIC begin! Please SHARE!


Facebook Auction of 
King Gimp Original Self Portrait
Drawing on Canvas/Pastels
Value:  $ 1,500.

Final bidding proceeds will be donated to Greg Heydorn Family
I encourage you to please go visit this link to 
HELP!!









Hello, Friend! You have been on my mind. A man of many new challenges have appeared due to your recent trauma. I am for certain, you will sustain each obstacle, there is a fire within will lead you to a solid recovery. Your wife, children, family/friends, and lastly the least expected, the unknown-will be your best medicine. What I have learned in my life's experiences is that fortune is not in an account. True wealth is, foundation of self. It is a balance of the good and bad deeds that create this core...of solid character. Just when you experience a whim of sad, hurt, agony-just remind yourself that good is brewing, somewhere, somehow.
Meet my husband, Danny Keplinger. He's the guy to watch when the "no's, I can't, it's impossible" reach to mind. Each morning, his routine is to sit amongst his shower bench and bask in his haven...warm water. Usually, I remain quiet when I assist-a chance to have peace. Not today, a post of yours tugged my heart strings.
(Facebook.....is there anyone available that can come to my hospital room so I can give you cash to pick up a fuel pump for my car? Our car is down until we get one).
I found you in your truest state, thinking of your wife and children, while in recovery of your trauma. You gave me a sample of my Danny, making resources happen regardless of ANY situation that stumbles upon you. The truest gift, the net.
I unfold your story to Danny. He bows his head, my eyes gloom with water because I have seen this before. It is his 'thinker pose". I knew he would take my paton and run with it. So here, I reach out to give you a hand of chance. I have no idea where it will go, I can assure you with Danny on your side...something somewhere, somehow GOOD will BREW.
Meet Danny, the artist. A private collector once purchased a painting and put it between a Picasso and Mattiese. An art appraisal once said, "Danny, I would like to compare you to 'Grandmom Moses' not because your creations are similar...because 100 years from now you will still be remembered". He was subject to an Academy Award Winning film, King Gimp. A fighting spirit, is Danny's translation...yes, he is the KING of it. His heart is wrapped in wonder.
This self portrait of Danny will be donated-as per his request, will be the launching pod to help. Share the hell of this, encourage others to....let's make this a germ and a way to give you some resources. Relieve a ounce of worry....is our mission. Let the "Kingdom of Kindness", begin.
Whatever will become of this, is unsure. What I am sure of is...you. got. this.
The unknown is your key, into your foundation. *wink*

Some words from Greg:

Hello everyone. My name is Greg Heydorn and on August 3rd, 2014 I fell 16 feet while working. I shattered both my legs, broke my nose, fractured my left wrist, and have a burst fracture L1 and a compression fracture L2 in my back. I've learned that I will exceed the allowable time to recover from my employer. Our family is looking for help through the kindness of others during the year it will take to put me back together so I can provide again myself for my family (my lady and 4 daughters...Sharra age 14, Amari age 6, and our 6 month old twins Zamiyah and Zakiyah. I'm 44 years old and have never collected a day of unemployment nor been on disability. I plan on a full recovery, but I fear how our family will suffer financially with me not being able to work. I am proud to say I've been able to make ends meet by working multiple jobs in addition to my regular job, but now I can't let pride stand in the way of fact. Please get to know me and this wonderful family!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Visit to Baltimore Elite Martial Arts Academy


I would like to thank Master Rick Hammond for inviting me to Baltimore Elite Martial Arts Academy in order to share my film and life with his campers and staff. The ages ranged from 3 1/5 to 7, so Brianna and I were asked some good questions. I had to laugh when we stopped the film two times, so they can do jumping jacks and push-ups when the younger ones got antsy.  It is good to see a place that teaches respect, but also knows what is reasonable from the age groups.

I often get asked, if there was a magic pill or magic wand would I use it to undo my disability?  I always say no: because my disability is just part of my personality, it makes me who I am. One camper said we should just make a magic wand to have.

When work was done Daniel son and his Maters got to play, White Belt, check!  By the way Brianna was across the room for more then one reason.






Friday, July 25, 2014

The True Humanity of Art



My studio at TU is next to the Ceramics Art Camp, they are about middle school ages campers. I need to remember that before I blast some old school NIN, anyway yesterday I had my work out on the floor looking at it. I was still in my chair and one of the campers froze at the door staring at my work and not at me for once.  Later that that day Brianna and I went over to the teacher and offer her to bring the students over next week to see how I produce my art.

When people see my art on the wall, or online it does not scream I am disabled so you better like my stuff! They just have a connection to the work and are more likely to approach me since we have command thread. I see art as the bridge between the disabled community and the able body world. When it comes to art everyone has their own style, art is just a vehicle to bring people together and share ideas.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I'm Back!

Yesterday I went to my studio at TU for the first time. I am just like a vampire no matter what they do I keep going back. This time, I am doing an Artist in Residency for a year. Officially, I am there working with Stuart to make the Cintiq by WACOM more accessible for artists with disabilities. Since I do have a studio, why not also paint and cause some problems for those printing people?  I have nice size studio in the back of ceramics, it even came with a microwave an mini fridge. When we go in for the day, I feel like the intro of Get Smart, door after door after door. It is a room in a room, within a room, but I could work nude if I wanted to.
It's all good, I am going to working with they different mediums that I do and have hours where other students can stop by and talk about their work.  I will still be work in TAC @ the EBC Arts Center, so I would still have opportunity to hold workshops.  It should be an interesting year!
Although, we moveed stuff around to make more room for me and a work space for Brianna. Wifey has to come give it her touch and stock us up with goodies!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Robotic Exoskeleton



The Robotic Exoskeleton must be the new trend around the world, but how practical is it. Right off the bat I do see the benefits of being able to reach up high, but how independent do they really make a PWD? Can one take it on and off by their selves? Would one be able to walk up stairs, the biggest concern I can think of how long some can use them without getting tired, or  hurting their body.  I am assuming most candidates for the exoskeleton would be some paraplegics, after so many years in chair the old body does not work as it use to.

My head stick really did not give the independence that I do have today, until I could take it on and off myself. Their is a difference between being setup to do a task, then having self-efficacy

Rex, the robotic exoskeleton.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Our Youngest


I came out from the bathroom this morning and found this little one curled up on my power chair. Wifey tells me she does that a lot, especially on the days I go to the studio. In fact Daisey will sleep in my chair for about a hour after I leave.

Each morning after I shower and open the door, she has to have kisses before I can get out of the bathroom. I would like to think it's because she misses me and not for the left over toothpaste.