Like many artists, Monique Harris would love to make enough money to support herself full-time. For now though, Harris, who has limited use of her arms and legs and has used a wheelchair all her life, is happy just to display her work in public. With cerebral palsy sapping the abilities of her hands to do art, she uses a pointer attached to her head to make computer-generated graphic art, one painstaking tap on the keyboard at a time.
“My mother was an artist and I love art, but I had to figure out a way I could do it on my computer,” Harris said Wednesday at an opening for some of her works at Mo’Joe Cafe in Berkeley. “I love different colors and images. I don’t know what I see when I start, I just start going.”
Harris, who is 48 and lives in Emeryville, uses applications such as Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Publisher to sculpt her images. Using her head to execute commands on software without the use of a mouse is a laborious process, but the only one she knows.
“What you and I could do using the mouse in a few minutes takes her hours,” said Bill Hollis, who taught her how to use the applications at the Cerebral Palsy Center of the Bay Area in Oakland. “She’s extremely strong. Perseverance is the true word here. Just yesterday, for the first time ever, and I’ve known her for years, she said, ‘sometimes my neck gets stiff.'”
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Monique’s blog with samples of her work and contact info →