TAYLORSVILLE — Justin Miller's eyes are his paintbrush.
Paralyzed from the head down, a special camera on his Dynovox computer takes pictures of his eye movements, tracks them, and allows him to paint.
"I created 'Tired Water' because it makes me feel tired or drowsy. It makes me imagine a busy day at work or school," said Miller, 20, of Taylorsville, with the help of a computer. He is on a ventilator and can't speak.
"I created 'Stained Glass Window' because it makes me feel like there's sun shining through the glass," he said.
Miller's work hangs in the waiting room of the new St. Mark's Hospital Taylorsville Emergency Center at 2675 W. Taylorsville Blvd., a freestanding E.R. Tuesday was the grand opening.
"It's amazing to me what he can do, just what he's able to create," said Donna Miller, Justin Miller's mother. "Even though he's not able to do a lot, what is in that brain of his and what he expresses is incredible."
The family lives close by so if Miller runs into trouble, they are only moments away.
"He was a normal, healthy toddler, and at the age of 2 he became paralyzed in two week's time," his mother said.
Doctors diagnosed him with a virus, and he eventually recovered. But at age 5, he got sick again.
"The next day he couldn't even stand up and the day after that he was on life support," Donna Miller said.
Justin Miller can smile slightly, and he moves his right ear up and down to control his wheelchair. He expresses himself through his art.
"If you're feeling sad that day, I usually tell him, 'Express that. It's good to express those emotions,' said Veronica Hansen, his art coach with Doué L.C. "It's good to be able to show that sadness in a painting."
"Doué" means "gifted" in French. The company promotes special-needs artists.
Though his diagnosis is a mystery, his passion and gift are crystal clear.
"He's differently abled," his mother said. "He's able to create beautiful art work, beautiful things, and I'm very grateful."
Doué is looking for other special-needs artists and sponsors. For more information, email Veronica Hansen at [email protected]
Email: [email protected]