Gabriel CORTÉS GUTIÉRREZ
Birthplace: Mazatlán, Sinaloa, México
scholarship holder of AMFPA since: 2008
Painting Method: Mouth painter
I was born on April 15, 1975 in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico.
There are three members in my family: my mother, my sister and I. I´ve lived in a ranch called La Noria since I was a young child, and this is where my family comes from on my mother´s side. My childhood was very uncommon because I was born with a physical condition called Arthrogriposis, defined as a malformation of the muscles and bones. In my case, I have a complete body, but I do not have flexibility in my arms and legs, and my spinal column has had several surgeries. My hands are clumsy, and even though I can move my arms somewhat, my best functioning part is my mouth, after I learned how to use it.
Since my birth, my family has been very humble and poor. My crib was a shoe box as I have been told by family and friends. We lived in very critical circumstances and my mother could not pay all the expenses which included the medications and treatments I needed to have a better life. She could hardly get the minimum necessary to live on.
We then went to live in the city of Los Mochis, Sinaloa. My life went on until I had the opportunity to meet a special person. Her name is Trude Bock. She and a good friend, David Werner, helped me to make my life physically easier. I started going to school to study English and learn other activities. This included painting with my mouth, which was difficult at the beginning. I had never attempted this and little by little I started to enjoy it.
My friend David told me about professor Lidia Chaidéz, a good and nice person and also disabled from her arms. He said she was an excellent painter and a member of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists. I started taking her painting workshop and she has encouraged me to continue painting. I feel very happy to be developing this talent which relaxes my mind and inspires me to become a better human being.
In September of 2008 I was accepted as a scholarship grantee by the Painters Association, and I must say that it has been the best thing that God has inspired me to be.