Coast Artist Doesn’t Need Hands to Paint

An artist native to our Coast is finally back at his canvas after Hurricane Katrina washed away many of his art supplies.
What’s unique about this artist’s work? He doesn’t need his hands to paint. News 25’s Gina Tomlinson caught up with the Biloxi resident and has more about his amazing talent.
Some prefer artwork hand made. Since a health condition prevents one Biloxi resident from using his hands, this artist was forced to get creative. Andrew Cruse paints his masterpieces with his mouth. “Anything with the Coast, lighthouses. I’ve done a lot of lighthouses, sailboats.”
Cruse’s artwork is sold at Flower Basket Florist in Biloxi. Being born with arthrogryposis, a rare muscle disease that affects the joints, has never stopped Cruse from doing what he loves to do and neither could the curriculum back when he started painting at D’Iberville High School. “After 11th grade, they didn’t have any more art classes for me to take. The principal made one up.”
Cruse spent a lot of his childhood in and out of the hospital and wearing leg braces up until seventh grade. ”Then they wanted me to stop wearing them to build my legs up. So, I stopped and kept on going.”
Cruse’s condition doesn’t stop him from doing everyday activities.“If I wash dishes, I got a thing that goes in my mouth just like I paint,” said Cruse.
Cruse lives independently, managing to take care of two cats by himself. He tells News 25 he doesn’t refer to himself as disabled. Cruse says having a disease won’t change his outlook on life because living is an art itself. “Think about life, it goes by fast. It does and if you can get up and do whatever inspires you, do it because we are not guaranteed tomorrow.”

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