Artist Oliver Mills brings creative touch to 2020 International Day of People with Disability

ARTISTS AT WORK: Oliver Mills with his mentor, Adelaide artist Henry 'Jock' Walker. Photos: SUPPLIED.

ARTISTS AT WORK: Oliver Mills with his mentor, Adelaide artist Henry 'Jock' Walker. Photos: SUPPLIED.

ART: For those with disability who would like to try something creative, Oliver has some wise advice: Get a good support team behind you and keep striving.

ART: For those with disability who would like to try something creative, Oliver has some wise advice: Get a good support team behind you and keep striving.

Author and artist Oliver Mills turned his creative talents to design a new lapel pin for the 2020 International Day of People with Disability.

The 32-year-old creative powerhouse has been an artist for the last 10 years, hosting his first exhibition at the Campbelltown ArtHouse in 2019.

Oliver lives with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and vision impairment and likes to maintain his independence.

"I also like expressing myself and finding new ways to show others how I see the world," he said.

"Because I am non-verbal, art gives me another way to communicate how I feel or what I think about life.

"I also enjoy exhibiting artwork and selling my paintings or greeting cards; I like feeling successful."

Artist Henry 'Jock' Walker has been mentoring Oliver in his artwork since January 2020.

He has been helping Oliver to build on his skills as well as creating new works together.

"I love how many creative artworks Oliver can do independently and how excited he gets over the process," Jock said.

"Especially with the newest mediums using charcoal and the iPad art apps, he just goes and goes and goes.

"I feel like we all get mesmerised by the things that he's creating.

"I'm a real abstract art enthusiast so to see an artist who has the physical challenges that he does, create such interesting and beautiful artwork makes it even more special."

The artwork for the lapel pin came about in Oliver's opening sessions with Jock early in the year.

"He was getting to know me and how I could paint independently with my different skills and special tools," Oliver said.

"He made this cool implement with brushes attached and then attached it to my finger that also had paint on it.

"This helped me paint a bigger area than what I could normally do - it was like, 'let's see what I can do.' I feel like anything is possible with Jock."

One of Oliver's signature techniques is to use his fingers to scratch or move the paint on the canvas. He also uses specially designed holders that attach to his hand and help him hold his brushes, as well as charcoal, and crayons. Oliver draws on his love of colour in his artworks, his favourites of which include bright yellow, deep purple and metallic colours like gold, silver and bronze.

COLOURFUL: Oliver displays one of his techniques and (right) the pin using his design which has been adopted for the 2020 International Day of People with Disability.

COLOURFUL: Oliver displays one of his techniques and (right) the pin using his design which has been adopted for the 2020 International Day of People with Disability.

Oliver's success as an artist has not stopped him from sometimes having days in which he feels frustrated and he has mixed feelings about living with cerebral palsy.

"I have lots of up days and down days," Oliver said.

"Sometimes life can be a bit crappity crap; I feel like I'm always waiting, or my seizures get in the way of the things I want to achieve.

"But cerebral palsy is just a part of who I am."

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