Saúl LÓPEZ MONATAÑÉZ
Birthplace: Guadalajara, Jalisco, México
scholarship holder of AMFPA since: 2006
Painting Method: Mouth painter
I was born in the midst of a middle class family like millions of other Mexicans. This motivated me from very young to strive ahead and pursue my future with my own effort.
When I was 18 and I had finished my technical career, I had the opportunity to start working in a large automotive agency which would launch my professional life. At 22, I started my own auto shop and, even though it only lasted for 2 years, it gave me a very good experience as a small entrepreneur.
I then returned to work with the auto agency for another 2 years. After this, I realized I did not have much of a future there, so I decided to find other options.
After a few months without work, I finally got a job as a driver- messenger with a private company. Due to the working schedule I had, I was able to take English classes, since I’ve always liked and wanted to have this knowledge.
On September 25, 2003, as I was driving on the Guadalajara-Chapala highway almost at midnight, my life changed radically. The only explanation I have is that unexpectedly, and out of nowhere, a horse crossed my path galloping in front of my vehicle in the middle of the road. After recuperating consciousness, I could only hear the ambulance sirens and the paramedics trying to pull me out of the vehicle I was driving - I had crashed against the horse.
It was at that very moment that I realized I had lost my body movements due to the accident. After I had been taken to a medical service clinic, a highway patrol informed me that my car had been impacted by a horse that had crossed the highway.
After a series of analysis and medical evaluations, I was diagnosed with a cervical medullar injury at the level of the 5th cervical, causing quadriplegia and leaving me totally immobilized from my lower and upper extremities, with no internal or external sensitivity in my body, from the neck down.
After 15 days in the hospital’s intensive therapy unit and physically stable, I was released and I returned home. Thank God and to my family’s support I started recuperating physically, within the possibilities, now as a disabled person.
After 2 years of experiencing this disability and enduring and accepting my new condition, I received a visit from my paternal grandmother one Sunday, and she gave me the surprising news that she had met someone very interesting, Sunny Bernard. She is now my great friend and teacher, who spoke to me about the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, and who guided me to become a mouth painter.
A few months later, my teacher and friend Sunny introduced me to Mr. John Grepe who also became a great support and a great friend. I am very grateful to both for guiding and supporting me to be accepted to AMFPA in 2006 and to pursue their example with admiration.