Harry Luxton is an artist based in the United Kingdom whose works empower and defy the expectations of traditional art. Luxton suffers from muscular dystrophy, a rare genetic disease that causes him to alternate between different methods of painting and sculpting. He achieves this by using his wheelchair wheels as both the brush and the subject. The artist breathes life into his pieces by using his wheels as an extension of himself; the prints are a view into alternative techniques and possibilities for art that are not present in the consciousness of the mainstream art world. The pieces are representative of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Reduced Inequalities.
“What do you know about disability? I am a disabled artist which shows that just because you are disabled doesn’t mean you can’t be an artist,” he shares on his website.
Luxton was recognized as one of Bloomberg’s New Contemporaries for 2024, his art is deeply personal as it is unique to his circumstance. In 2019 he started a fundraiser by selling his pieces to raise money for the Haven House Children’s Hospice of which he was once a former attendant. The artist’s use of colour to embolden his work is a theme he frequently expresses in his sculptures as well as his prints.
His piece Finding Freedom depicts a 3D-printed wheelchair-bound figure suspended in the air. This illustrates the personal freedoms that Luxton has found through his art and the confidence and rare perspective he provides to his audience. The limits placed on his person have expanded his mind’s horizon for the possibilities he could create and the tools at his disposal to create pieces that reflect his ideas. The shifts between mediums are a showcase of the artist's desire to explore these different methods of expression and to test the limits of the technologies available to him.
The creator of these works also uses the tyres on his aforementioned wheels as a subject for his art. He does this by creating sculptures using his wheels and having them coloured as a method to bring attention to them by either sculpting them into abstract figures or applying a coat of paint on them and sorting them into various arrangements.
His sculpture, These Are My Leg! is significant in getting across Luxton’s message, the model shows the artist’s legs as he sees them. An assortment of tyres is fashioned into a pair of legs that symbolize the duality of his medium as well as his dependence on the machine that he has adopted as being more than just a tool. Rather the figure speaks to an intrinsic relationship with the wheelchair and how the wheelchair, despite its perceived nature as a hindrance, is an important factor in the art that sets it apart from other works.
The physical connection to the series is one of even greater association than that of an artist and their brush or a sculptor and their chisel; the provenance of the creator is more closely comparable to body art. The themes of these works are laced with character and metaphor, showing off the artist’s playfulness with colourful double-entendre and an art style unique to the artist's own experience.
Throughout his young career, Luxton has found a plethora of formats to engage with his audience. He empowers many differently-abled artists by using his wheelchair to tell a story. The artwork that has been produced is a valuable analogy for the refusal to be limited by circumstance and the adaptability to continue to create despite his ailment. The catalogue presented is a testament to unending opportunity for storytelling and the differences in people are a strength to be celebrated. Ultimately the message gathered by the audience will encourage young creatives to look deeper at their differences and be excited to share those contrasts in new and profound ways.