A Life In Paintings | Rob Trent

(Title Image showing Rob in his home studio)

I recently connected with Rob Trent, founder of Access Advisr - a user led resource for finding and reviewing accessibility in a variety of places across England for people living with disabilities. We connected via Twitter when he asked me join his Access review team which of course is right up my street. Thank you again Rob!

Whilst Rob was tellimg me a bit about the website and it's background, I also learnt a little bit about his own! It turns out Rob is a modest artist who paints using his mouth due to limited arm movement as a direct result of his Arthrogryposis (a condition that causes multiple joint contractures from birth). I had heard of Mouth and Foot painting but I've never actually known anybody with such a knack for it before now. I found it incredibly fascinating due to how much patience and control it must take to create such incredible works of art that Rob and other M&F painters achieve! So I thought my readers may enjoy learning a bit more too...

Rob kindly agreed to let me interview him about his paintings and here's what he had to say;

Q. So, how did you get introduced to Mouth and Foot painting?

Before I went to school I had a tutor, Mrs Bolton, who came to our house. She encouraged me to write and paint with my mouth even at that early age. She was also very aware of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists (mfpa.co.uk) and wrote to one of their artists who sent me a paint set.

Q. What are your main inspirations when you're coming up with a new piece?

Often I’ll use photos from holiday locations that my wife and I go on. Or even photos from days out. Holidays are inspirational as they conjure great memories. My brother is a keen photographer and he also lets me use his pictures for inspiration.

Q. What was your first ever painting?

I can’t remember my first ‘proper’ painting, but its probably just as well that I don’t have a record of it!

Q. Do you sell any of your paintings or planning to dive into that in the future?

Selling originals is a bit tricky, as I never really know what a painting is ‘worth’ in financial terms. Mostly, I’ll give the pictures to friends and agree a price which we are both comfortable with.

Q. Roughly how long does an average piece take to complete?

Currently I paint at the weekends, and it can take 3-4 weekends to complete a picture. In the summer when the light is better I can get more painting in. Myinspiration when painting is listening to Planet Rock! I hope to be dedicating more time to painting later this year.

Q. Do you find it strenuous? If so do you need to take frequent breaks?

I don’t find it too strenuous. I use my next a lot for moving and other things so I have built up a fair bit of strength.

Q. Do you have a dedicated space in your house for you to paint?

I have a studio at the bottom of our garden. A few years ago REMAP (a charity group of retired engineers who build custom aids for people with disabilities where the items cannot be sourced elsewhere) made me an electronic easel which I can move up and down, or tilt to different angles. It has meant I can paint larger pictures without having to rely on others to adjust my paintings.

Q. Which of your paintings mean the most to you and what's the story behind it?

As mentioned above, I think ones taken from our holidays mean the most to me. They remind me of getting away from it all, and seeing so many different, beautiful places. Having said that, I painted a picture of some Gondolas in Venice which I felt came out really well. It is on the above website.

(IMAGE: Rob Trent, smiling wearing a smart black suit and tie)

A big Thank You to Rob for sharing his passion of painting with us!

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