JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - 36-year-old William Heard has just enough dexterity to grip a Styrofoam ball attached to a plastic spoon.
"I love Jackson Pollock and the way he dripped using a paint brush," Heard says as he demonstrates his technique. "This is how I started painting. Using a spoon. I couldn't really hold a paint brush that well. I thought about what could I use to drip paint."
Using simple tools and some self-taught techniques, he creates canvas after canvas of vibrant artwork.
"I had surgery on my wrist where I can move my thumb in and out, but I can't move my fingers. I'm a quadriplegic," Heard said. "You never know what's going to happen in life. In an instant, things can change."
Back in 2000, Heard was a medic in the National Guard, even helping with people with spinal cord injuries, when he was involved in a car wreck that broke his C5 and C6 vertebrae.
The injury left him paralyzed.
"I basically had to start all over again. I was reborn from my car accident," Heard said.
That's why he likes to paint butterflies, a symbol of rebirth.
One of his butterfly paintings hung in the U.S. Capitol during President Obama's inauguration.
Heard is currently a board member of L.I.F.E., or Living Independently for Everyone, in Jackson.
But his studio is in Tupelo.
"I started Our Artwork. It's an art class for people with spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries. We meet several times a month," Heard says.
And if art reflects life, Heard hopes his zest for creativity will rub off on others who are disabled and need inspiration.
"Our house is our safe zone. We feel safe there, but we really need to get into the community, get back in it, become more a part of it," Heard says.
Heard also visits Mississippi schools to share his artwork with students.
Monday, May 20 2013 8:21 PM EDT2013-05-21 00:21:00 GMT
Jackson Police are investigating a homicide in west Jackson Monday after a body was discovered inside a residence on Arbor Vista Boulevard. According to Officer Colendula Green with JPD, officers haveMore >>
Jackson police have released the identity of the man found dead in a west Jackson house Monday morning.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >>
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 2:01 AM EDT2013-05-21 06:01:07 GMT
(RNN) – A day after long track tornadoes devastated Shawnee and Edmond, OK, another round has begun near Oklahoma City.KOCO broadcast a slow rotating cloud that slowly extended down towards the groundMore >>
At least 51 have died in a storm the National Weather Service described as large and violent.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 7:22 PM EDT2013-05-20 23:22:22 GMT
NOTE: Photos and videos will be added to this story later in the evening. The Walthall County Sheriffs Department along with The Humane Society of the United States are in the process of raiding a puppyMore >>
Among the dogs, many are dead, and skeletal remains are mixed with living animals in small, dark, filthy enclosures.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 9:37 PM EDT2013-05-21 01:37:07 GMT
A body discovered in Clinton Saturday night has led to a homicide investigation. Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham Stewart confirms a body was discovered, although few other details are known. The bodyMore >>
Clinton Police Department's Interim Chief Mike Warren said upon further investigation, it appears a disagreement over a woman may have led to the death of a Jackson man.
Monday, May 20 2013 2:26 PM EDT2013-05-20 18:26:49 GMT
Hinds County sheriff's deputies seized five pounds of marijuana and made two arrests as the result of a three-month investigation. Sheriff's office officials say the northeast Jackson investigation isMore >>
Hinds County sheriff's deputies seized five pounds of marijuana and made two arrests as the result of a three-month investigation.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 11:48 PM EDT2013-05-21 03:48:15 GMT
A woman has been arrested after she allegedly locked her four young daughters out of their home for days at a time.A witness told police that the four girls, ages 7, 5, 3 and 1, had been in the same dirtyMore >>
A woman has been arrested after she allegedly locked her four young daughters out of their home for days at a time.More >>
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department. More >>
An Oregon girl abducted as a baby and missing for 18 years finally emerged in Dallas this week when her mother turned herself in to authorities, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 4:58 PM EDT2013-05-20 20:58:33 GMT
For Trooper First Class Kervin Stewart, law enforcement, specifically the highway patrol, has always been a passion. "I just enjoy being a trooper. I like the freedom and the ability to interact withMore >>
For Trooper First Class Kervin Stewart, law enforcement, specifically the highway patrol, has always been a passion.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 12:10 PM EDT2013-05-20 16:10:06 GMT
(WMC-TV) - Arlington High School senior Taylor Flake thought she was making history when her classmates elected her to be the school's first African-American class president. "It's more than just me representingMore >>
Arlington High School senior Taylor Flake thought she was making history when her classmates elected her to be the school's first African-American class president.
So when the school started planning for the commencement, Flake said she was shocked to find out that she was not among those chosen to speak.More >>
WLBT 3 - Fox 40
715 South Jefferson Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201