Made in God’s Image: Paul Smith, Ingenious Artist

Paul Smith at Work

Reading this story and seeing this art reminded me of what it means to be created in God’s image. And also what lies within us, including in the severely disabled, that glorifies God when we find creative ways to give it expression. Consider these passages, then read the story of Paul Smith:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27).

“And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs…” (Exodus 35:31-32).

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men (Colossians 3:23).

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).

Paul Smith lived at Rose Haven Nursing Home in Roseburg, Oregon. He was born on September 21, 1921. 

Paul Smith artHe had no formal education as a child due to his severe spastic cerebral palsy, a disability that impeded his speech and mobility. But he taught himself to become a great chess player and a master artist.

"When typing, Paul used his left hand to steady his right one. Since he couldn't press two keys at the same time, he almost always locked the shift key down and made his pictures using the symbols at the top of the number keys. In other words, his pictures were based on the characters @ # $ % ^ & * ( )_ .  Across seven decades, Paul created hundreds of pictures. He often gave the originals away. Sometimes, but not always, he kept or received a copy for his own records. As his mastery of the typewriter grew, he developed techniques to create shadings, colors, and textures that made his work resemble pencil or charcoal drawings." 

Paul passed away on June 25, 2009, leaving behind a collection of typewritten artwork.


Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries