~unbrokentoyz is a talented conceptual artist with a very interesting and diverse body of artwork. He is also going to shed some light on living with Becker Muscular Dystrophy, during this interview:
You come from a town in Texas called Abilene, which is in the South. I think the South is always portrayed as a part of the USA with a rich, distinct culture and history.
Can you give me a bit of insight into Southern culture and do you find artistic inspiration in your surroundings and how does the Southern influence express itself in your artwork?
Yes there is a lot of history here, and the area is full of culture. In our town of Abilene Texas, we have a historic downtown area with art galleries and museums and a fully interactive history museum here called Frontier Texas!
Hope - as a concept - what does it mean to you in an artistic sense? And in a Life sense?
Hope is very important, and when you have Becker Muscular Dystrophy you have to have hope and drive to push you, to get up after every fall and power of the mind to say I am a bad ass and I am gonna keep going!
Your username unbrokentoyz is very interesting, can you explain the significance of your username and how you chose it?
It was just me playing with words one day, in my mid-twenties: the meaning is that people with disabilities are people with a defect of some sort, they are different, but not broken and are awesome in their own way!
If you could have your art displayed in a certain part of Abilene, where would you choose to have it displayed and why in that particular area?
The Grace! (The Grace Museum is a museum in Abilene, which is home to five art galleries. The permanent art collection contains works by artistic legends such as Andy Warhol, James Suris, David Bates, Helen Altman and Vernon Fisher)
I've chosen to feature your print - snake spirite
- can you give the reader an overview of why you constructed this piece and the concepts from your point of view that are important?
Like most things I do that are artistically inclined, initially it was sort of by mistake in a way, I was doodling with some art software that my wife had bought. My son looked at my design and exclaimed that it looked like a snake .......or a snake spirit to me and it stuck!
Regarding Becker Muscular Dystrophy
You say that you construct your art to convey an artistic message, is Becker Muscular Dystrophy integrated or totally removed in your artwork?
I feel when I'm really into it, the anger and my outrage comes out in almost everything I do in life. I have feelings of self-pity and anger from day to day, but I also have a lot of joy due to the fact that I can escape it (those feelings) through listening to music or drawing!
Can you give the reader an overview of when you/your parents first found out you had Muscular Dystrophy, and the background of Becker Muscular Dystrophy in your family from a genetic perspective?
When I was five, my parents were told by a doctor that I had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which is fatal for people in their teen years. My folks ignored that and as the years went by, my parents pushed me to achieve and strive for success and said there was nothing wrong. Until I was about twenty-three then certain things became harder to do, like going up stairs and stuff like that. I went to a doctor and found out I had Becker Muscular Dystrophy. I like that my parents pushed me, it made me stronger.... a stronger person. If I knew something was wrong, I may have never done the things I did with my life, like starting work at sixteen and working up until I was thirty-six. I had drive and motivation, if my parents had emphasized that something was wrong I may have been a weaker person!
What are your life strategies in terms of managing the disorder?
Stay active and never lose hope... there is that word again - from the first part of the interview. It is all about hope and drive and never quitting or giving up!
Where you would like research going with regards to MD, many people are advocating for a cure of course, but there is also increased focus on making MD a maintenance disorder i.e extending the life span of a MD sufferer and alleviating symptoms?
Well a cure would be nice, if there was a cure I would be at the gym every day and I would like to run - that would be great!
I would like to thank ~unbrokentoyz for sharing parts of his artistic journey with us, and providing unique insights into life with Becker Muscular Dystrophy.