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ArtIamA Mouth and Foot Artist - Alana Tillman - AMA!

Mar 26th 2016 by AlanaMouthFootA • 16 Questions • 1065 Points

Hi Reddit, I am Alana. I am an artist born without the use of my hands. I paint using my mouth and my feet.

A post of my work was on the front page this morning

I woke up this morning with a lot of emails thanks to Reddit... Thank you all for the kind comments. I figured I would do a question and answer session with you guys.

My Proof: http://i.imgur.com/vJCMoHq.jpg - Just posted about this on my IG as well

I'm going to bed guys! It's late here. Ill try to answer remaining questions when I wake up in the morning. Thank you!!

Q:

I found you on Instagram, and I quickly became a huge fan of your work, especially your pet portraits. Is it possible to order a custom one from you? I looked around your website, and couldn't find info for that.

A:

I'm really happy to paint something custom for you. I enjoy doing pet portraits and find myself connected to animals. Most of the pieces on my website already have a home. Feel free to private message me your contact information here on reddit or you can email me directly [email protected] Thanks for the comment.


Q:

I second this question. How much would one cost? Also, based on my cursory browse of your website I couldn't find any prints for sale. Do you have them for sale somewhere else? I saw a mention of a site on IG but no luck there either. You're so talented!

A:

I do not really sell prints. I prefer only to work on originals. If there is something you are interested in on my website I would be happy to create something custom for you. Thanks for the compliment.


Q:

Wait, if you have no use of your hands...how are you responding to these questions?

A:

I use my feet to text and type. (or voice commands)


Q:

You're so boss! One more question then; what is your typing speed in words per minute (WPM)? Thanks for answering by the way.

A:

Sorry can't tell you the exact the words per minute but not fast. I seem to get it done. ;) Take care


Q:

May I ask if all your joints are affected? Or just your elbows? Is it easier to paint with your mouth or feet? Your art work is awesome, I really like your style.

A:

Not all of my joints are affected. It is limited primarily to my arms.

It is a lot easier for me to paint with my mouth than my feet. I feel like I have more control using my jaw muscles. I use my teeth to bite down on the tool and my tongue to control the direction that I need the paint brush or pencil to go. - Thanks for the nice comment too.


Q:

I don't know why but when I saw the post last night I thought you just move your head around to draw/paint. Your description makes it even more impressive and inspiring. Where did you get your training? How long have you been doing art?

Edit: Just saw the answer to the Where did you get your training? below...

A:

I have been doing art since I was 5 years old.


Q:

First off - your paintings are really good! And not even in a condescending way, I'd be super impressed by a lot of them even if they were done by hand.

Who are some of your favorite artists? What is your process like? I imagine sketching out or even tracing an image is highly difficult for you and painting without any guides is brutal.

A:

Some of my favorite artists are Rothco, Andy Warhol, Picasso, and Goya. I also enjoy the masters like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Durer.

I just lightly paint an outline of the subject - when I do more abstract pieces I will lay out washes of color and layer them. I've adapted to my condition and painting is fairly routine now. Thanks for the question and the kind comment.


Q:

Do you admire any artists, either historical or modern?

A:

Both historical and modern. I enjoy Rothco, Diebenkorn, Warhol, O'Keeffe, Picasso - I also enjoy Kahlo. Historically I enjoy Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Durer as well as others. Thank you for the question.


Q:

Where do you see yourself taking your art in the next few years? Who are your favorite artists and where do you draw your inspiration from?

A:

Thanks for asking. In the next few years I hope I will start to survive just off of my art - able to create everyday. The dream of a lot of us artists is to just "make it." To be able to do what we love. A lot of successful artists are not successful until they have died and I'm hoping to avoid that. Favorite artists include Rothco, Andy Warhol, Picasso, Goya, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Durer.


Q:

The painting that you made are fantastic! What was your favorite reaction that someone had to them?

A:

All of the really kind comments were awesome. One of my favorite exchanges was actually a question here on this AMA. The question about advice for children with disabilities was a good chance for me to spread some knowledge from experience. I volunteer my time and do painting demonstrations with the Boys and Girls club. Sometimes they can be at risk kids - I try to be a role model as far as overcoming adversities... to show that they don't have to make excuses for the themselves. That in spite of circumstances and hardships there is a way to accomplish what they want. Thanks for taking the time to ask me a question.


Q:

When did you join reddit?:)

A:

About 4 hours ago. I first visited the site last night.


Q:

What's your process for choosing mouth or foot?

A:

I usually use my mouth to paint. I use my feet like hands... I use them to get the paint out and mix the paint pallet.


Q:

How did you get into painting (art)?

A:

I was living in a creative household. Had artists on both sides of my family. It felt like an obvious path to follow. My dad was an architect so he used to draw all the time. My older sister is an artist as well.


Q:

I've noticed that a lot of artists have trouble drawing feet. They draw the feet positioned so it looks like an after thought while the rest of the picture is incredible. How did you get over the issues of drawing feet?

A:

I never really had trouble drawing feet because when creating a figure I took into consideration the entire figure - looking at the balance of the entire composition. I did a lot figure drawing classes so learned a lot of tools such as stepping away to see the entire composition to keep proportion. Also gridding out the drawing. Thanks for the question.


Q:

Hi Alana, it's very inspirational to see someone overcome obstacles (whatever they may be) and pursue their goals/passions! From the front page post, I see that your topics are very pop culture oriented (zombies etc). Do you think your lack of use of hands has affected the subjects you choose to paint at all i.e. does it affect your artistic message? or is it pretty much beside the point, other than making painting uh a little more difficult!

A:

Both the zombies and video game stuff were commissioned pieces where I did not choose the subjects. I would say that not having the use of my hands does not inspire my art as much as people seem to think. I can understand how people might interpret it that way but no it's not intentionally woven into my pieces. Thanks for your question :)


Q:

I found the painting of the NES really interesting, could you comment on it at all?

A:

A friend of mine was born in the 80s and grew up playing the NES. He was looking for something nostalgic - he collects old game systems. That painting is the only video game related piece I have done. I have thought about doing a vintage video game character series but haven't got around to it.