Born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), 25-year-old Ty Dykema uses an electric wheelchair to get around. His activities may be restricted, but that doesn’t stop him from creating bold, colorful portraits. Physically unable to use a paintbrush, Dykema uses a Wacom tablet and ArtRage Studios painting and drawing software to create his works of art.
“Art is my purpose in life, and I have been actively creating for as long as I can remember,” Dykema said.
Dykema’s ArtPrize entry, “We Can’t Walk; So What!?” comprises three portraits printed on high-quality photo paper from ProLab Express and custom-framed for ArtPrize by Merizon Studios. Each framed piece measures 16″W x 20″H.
Born and raised in Wyoming, Michigan, Dykema thought the most appropriate project to enter would be a series of stylized portrait paintings of some of his peers.
“Each subject of the paintings uses a wheelchair in everyday life because they have SMA,” Dykema said. “They are important members of their communities and are exceptional in their respective crafts.”
Adam Davis is a hip-hop DJ from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Tess Hazenberg is an MSU graduate currently doing social work in North Carolina. And Shane Burcaw is the CEO of the non-profit organization, Laughing At My Nightmare based out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
“The theme of this project is simple—pay respects to and shine some much-deserved light on my people while showing the world what we CAN do, not just what we’re limited to,” said Dykema.