Jesse Cuellar: Artist and Power Wheelchair User
Like any artist, Jesse Cuellar takes his diverse experiences in life and draws on them to create beautiful paintings. Jesse’s method of painting is different, however, as he paints with his mouth.
"Fundamentally, it's the same as painting with your hands," Jesse said. "I don't see it as an obstacle."
Jesse has painted all his life, but he didn’t always paint with his mouth. At 27 years old, Jesse fell off a roof and broke his neck, resulting in a severe spinal cord injury.
Paralyzed from the neck down, Jesse uses a Q6 Edge® 2.0 Power Wheelchair with iLevel® for mobility.
"It’s a great chair," Jesse said. "It rides smooth and allows me to get places I wouldn't otherwise go. It's basically my feet."
Jesse paints both as a hobby and professionally. He is inspired by everything around him. When he is asked to paint something, Jesse either gets direction from the client or gets an idea off the top of his head and develops the painting from there.
"I used to just paint for fun, but now, it's my job," Jesse said. "Doing something you love for a living is incredibly rewarding."
Originally from California, Jesse resides in St. Louis, Missouri. When he isn’t busy painting, Jesse enjoys hanging out with his friends and going shopping for shoes. He is continuously adding to an already impressive shoe collection. No matter what the activity, Jesse is always doing something.
"My power wheelchair allows me to experience the world much more easily," Jesse said. "That's important, because those experiences become fuel for my art."
Jesse also gives motivational speeches and attends consumer tradeshows with the Quantum team, including the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles. He talks with individuals who have spinal cord injuries and other disabilities and paints for them.
"I learned that no matter what kind of situation you get put into, there's always a way out," Jesse said. "You can be either negative or positive, and I choose to be positive."