'The hardest working person I know:' Artist doesn't let disabilities stop her from creating

Anastasia Wilson

MADISON -- Artist Anastasia Wilson’s oil paintings are vibrant, eye-catching and thought-provoking. What makes the work even more unique is that Wilson lives with cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects body movement and muscle coordination.

“I knew from an early age that I wanted to become an artist,” Wilson said.

Wilson has little control of her body and speaks with a communication device controlled by her eyes. She has limited use of her arms and legs.

Anastasia Wilson

Anastasia Wilson

“I view myself as an artist first, and I view my disabilities as just side notes,” she said.

Wilson said her first occupational therapist discovered she had most control of her neck. Her father created a headstick she uses to transfer her thoughts from her brain to a brush and then to canvas.

“It helps with her anxiety. I enjoy and love seeing her do it,” said Nicole Englehart, her care worker.

She can guide a brush with almost surgical precision.

Artwork of Anastasia Wilson

“When I paint, I enter into a meditative state that calms my mind and lifts my soul,” said Wilson.

“She is the hardest working person I know,” said Erica Meier, Wilson's friend and fellow artist.

The two met while they were students at UW-Whitewater. Meier stressed that Wilson’s work is competitive, and should not be relegated because of the disabilities she was born with.

Artwork of Anastasia Wilson

“She is so prolific. She makes so much work. She takes on these big projects that necessitates constant working. She's constantly painting,” said Meier.

Wilson’s latest project is focused on her life and the use of assistive technology. It was inspired by her own computer, which she uses to communicate with the world.

“My main hope is to assist other people who are using devices to communicate, to find acceptance for their voices,” Wilson said.

Artwork of Anastasia Wilson

Wilson found her voice, gracefully brushing by obstacles in her way.

“Nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself and work very hard,” she said.