Crushed Impressionism™ was created by Mario Ferrante, a life-long paraplegic due to polio paralysis as an infant. Already an accomplished singer, writer and composer, Mario also expressed himself through visual art. His frustration grew, however, because both of his shoulders were damaged by rotator cuff tears due to years of
pushing his manual wheelchair. He simply could not paint with traditional brush technique.
He devised a new way to express himself through visual art.
Crushed Impressionism™ is the creation of paintings by the artist using the wheels of a
wheelchair as the “brushes” for defining all major images on the canvas. These images are
begin with applying paint to the wheels of a wheelchair, and then having them artistically
placed onto the canvas by the wheelchair-confined artist, who is rolling over the canvas to
form the images. Sponges are used for backgrounds and occasional accents, but there is no
painting on the canvas with brushes.
The images created on the canvas offer unique qualities due to the
fact that 300 pounds of pressure strike the canvas with each “roll” of the wheelchair. The weight is comprised of the chair itself and the wheelchair artist, who is providing the sole power that creates the roll of the colors onto the canvas. Strength, control and dexterity are critical to the skill-set of the wheelchair artist, as he/she maneuvers the wheelchair to be the perfect vehicle for artistic expression.
Under the direction and design of the wheelchair artist, art assistants apply color to the wheels of the wheelchair. This can be tedious work due to the fact that the colors may need to be re- applied after every quarter turn of the wheel. Together, they
coordinate every paint strategy in real-time, often leaving little
room for error in timing or application of paints. The wheels also require regularcleaning for
color changes, as the team does not have the luxury of simply changing wheelchairs with
every new color scheme.
In order to provide unique textures to the objects on the canvas, nine specific techniques are
applied as needed. It is possible to have one or all of the techniques on the same canvas:
The result is an amazing array of color bursts, intersecting lines with multi-colored patterns
created by the crushing and melding of the paint, and impressionistic images. By closely
studying each painting, you will see new formations and blended colors that would be difficult,
if not impossible to achieve with traditional brushstrokes.