Mouth painter Cody Tresierra living proof of triumph over tragedy

At the age of 19, Cody Tresierra learned he would remain paralyzed from the neck down but that didn't stop him from pursuing his passion for painting.

Paralysis from the neck down doesn't stop Cloverdale man from pursuing passion

Mouth painter Cody Tresierra found his passion for art after he became paralyzed from a car accident. 0:41

Two members of the mouth and foot painting community were at the Museum of Vancouver Saturday demonstrating their art form as part of National Disabilities Awareness Month.

Cloverdale-based artist, Cody Tresierra, was one of them. 

The 55-year old was involved in a life-altering car accident at the age of 19 where he broke his neck while sitting in the passenger seat.

As soon as he woke up from the accident, he says doctors were "brutally honest" in telling him he would never be able to walk again.

It took him months to come to terms with his new reality — he was paralyzed from the neck down.

But when he started rehabilitation, he discovered a new chapter in his life. He learned how to paint using his mouth and has been dedicated to his art ever since.

"I love to paint. I think of it everywhere I go," said Tresierra.

He offers advice to those who may be struggling as he once did:

  • surround yourself with supportive friends and family,
  • talk to others who have had similar experiences,
  • and pursue a passion.

"If you have a dream ... it may not be artwork, it might be something else but find something that you love," said the artist. "You're really fortunate if you have something to pursue."

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