Illustrator Francis Tsai was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) a couple of years ago, but that hasn’t stopped him from creating art. He explains how he does it in an amazingly upbeat letter he recently sent to friends and fans:
As some of you know, I was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) back in 2010. This is a fatal degenerative nerve disease with no known cause or cure. It affects people in different ways but typically ends in total paralysis and death due to respiratory failure, unless you undergo some invasive body modification procedures to help prevent that. Being an illustrator/concept artist, naturally it took my arms and hands first. I haven’t held a pencil since early 2011. Bummer, but I discovered I could use an iPhone with my toes. I figured out how to use the Brushes app and made a handful of paintings. My toes have since lost the dexterity for that, so I’ve started using eye-gaze controlled technology to type and hopefully paint.
To help generate some income while I wait for science to get its stuff together, my awesome sister Marice has put together an online shop featuring some of my artwork. Please consider picking up some cool Tsai swag and sharing this post!
In addition to sharing Tsai’s incredible, humbling message, I also wanted to share some of the unbelievable work he’s done with his big toe. The sock monkey above is just one example; hit the jump for more. These are all available as magnets for $3 each (plus shipping) and Tsai also has a set of four for $10. There’s also work from earlier in his career, available on T-shirts, travel mugs, water bottles, and iPhone cases. I’ve already placed my order.