Martin’s first life abruptly ended on a hairpin turn on the Infinion Raceway in Sonoma, California. A T3 spinal cord injury left him paralyzed from the chest down. Vogel called on his first gift to pull him through, the heart of a champion. His initial concern was how he was going to occupy his time and how to “channel all the emotions inside me. That’s what racing had done. But without that in my life, I knew that I had to find something else to challenge me, something else to make me life my life.” A true champion is not measured by how many wins he has achieved, but by how many times he gets up when he is knocked down. Unable to ever ride motorcycles or even walk, Martin wheeled out of rehabilitation after only seven weeks, and into his second life as a wheelchair racer.
Martin then experienced a void often faced by champions – something was missing from his life. Armed with his first two gifts and a desire to paint, Martin’s second life ended and his third began. This time he desired to share his gifts with the world through his art. An avid illustrator and sculptor as a youth, and from a family of successful fashion designers, Vogel always had an eye and aptitude for art. One day, while looking down at some tracks his wheelchair wheels had left in the dirt, Vogel began toying with the idea of applying paint to his wheels. That soon grew into an obsession and he began customizing his wheels in order to create interesting shapes, and began painting in earnest. His wheelchair became his brush. This unique approach allows Martin to become one with the chair and canvas. He creates abstract paintings, but also finds that “for whatever reason, a lot of natural motifs show up – like birds, fish and stars.” The result is a brilliant representation of motion.
“We believe that all persons, regardless of their disabilities, should have equal opportunities to express their talents and to be successful in the Arts," said Michael Dergar, President and CEO of the Pasadena-based Academy of Special Dreams Foundation. This Art Exhibition is another opportunity for us to encourage, promote and showcase the artistic expressions of these amazing artists from around the country. We give many thanks to the City of Alhambra for giving us this opportunity and for supporting the artists of the Academy of Special Dreams Foundation.”
This Art Exhibition is a testament to the creativity of our artists in the special needs community and we encourage everyone to stop by the Alhambra City Hall to see “Wheels Up.”
The Art Exhibition will be on display at the Alhambra City Hall,
111 S 1st St, Alhambra, CA 91801
(626) 570-5000. from April 1st, 2014 – April 30, 2014. For further information or directions, please call follow us at: www.specialacademy.org
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About Academy of Special Dreams
The Academy of Special Dreams Foundation is a California non-profit public benefit corporation based in Pasadena, California, and is recognized as a tax-exempt IRC 501(c)(3) publicly supported charity. The mission of the Special Academy is to increase public awareness, appreciation and recognition of the creative talents of people with disabilities by providing opportunities that encourage, promote and showcase their artistic expressions. More information about the Special Academy can be found at www.specialacademy.org.
Jerry J. Ruiz, tel. (323) 253-7380; e-mail JJR@specialacademy.org