Antonio Davis headshot

Antonio Davis

2022 Bodies of Work Fellow
Visual Arts

Antonio Davis (b. 1975, Chicago) is a mouth painter whose passion has always been art. He loved drawing and painting from youth and studied graphic design at Prosser Vocational High School in Chicago. In 1994, he sustained a gunshot wound to the chest that left him quadriplegic. During his recovery at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) he was introduced to mouth painting. In 1996 Antonio moved to a nursing home facility to further his rehabilitation, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. He was encouraged by a RIC therapist to start drawing again, this time by holding the pen in his mouth.

In 1997 he began to focus his artistic talents by immersing himself in all mediums, including attending the Illinois Institute of Art where he learned life drawing, color theory, and 3D modeling. After years of study, in 2006 he was granted a scholarship from MFPA (an association of mouth and foot painting artists) to further develop his talent.

Antonio’s paintings have received worldwide recognition and the MFPA has reproduced many of his artworks. He has been profiled on CBS News, NBC, the Steve Harvey Show, WGN, WTTW Chicago Tonight, and other national televised channels. Now with nearly fifteen years of developing is craft, Antonio is a professional mouth painting artist, motivational speaker, peer mentor, and trailblazer for the disabled community.

Antonio’s artwork has been exhibited in many galleries and shows nationally and internationally, including “Harlem Fine Art Show” in both Chicago and New York, the ADA 25th Anniversary at the Illinois State Building, Richard J. Daley College, Brookfield Art Show, and Highland Park Art Focus week. One of His most notable exhibits has been at American Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia, where he received a handwritten letter from the ambassador in recognition of his artistic achievements. In 2017 the African American Art Alliance of Chicago presented him with the Special Recognition Visual Arts Black Excellence Award. He was also featured in the Obama Foundation “Active Citizen” series. Antonio also works with The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s “Art in Motion” program as a peer mentor, motivational speaker, and all-around brand ambassador.

Through art, Antonio has found a purpose. He is determined to inspire people and prove that they can overcome any obstacle, no matter the fear or limitation. “If there’s a will there’s a way, and the cave you fear to venture into holds your treasure…”

 

Featured Artworks

  •  Still life painting of an upright white jug with grapes balancing on the rim, sitting on a blue-draped table with pears and other fruit around the jug's base Blue Velvet 30x40 oil on canvas
  •  Painting of a reflecting pool and fountain in foreground with green leafed trees on either side and in background the stone facade of the Art Institute of Chicago with wall statue Statues of the Great Lakes 24x36 oil on canvas
  •  Landscape painting of a serene sunset or sunrise with calm lake in foreground and distant horizon of trees against a streak of blue and amber clouds Violet Horizon 24x36 oil on canvas
  •  Antonio Davis artwork Madonna and Child 18x24 oil on panel
  •  Painting of the Grand Canal in Venice with small gondola in the foreground and the famous Venetian buildings along the narrow shoreline Grand Canal 36x24 oil on panel
  •  Antonio Davis artwork Marca Bristo