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Right Arrow Paralysed man's digital art work on show at hospital
13 June 2013 at 16:51

Eighteen images created by a disabled artist are now brightening up the hospital where he was once a patient.

Ryan Forshaw, 35, was paralysed from the shoulders down after a fall in 1996, leaving him using a wheelchair and with limited use of his arms.

He had always been interested in art and started digitally manipulating photographs while undergoing rehabilitation at the North West Regional Spinal Injuries Centre at Southport and Formby District General Hospital.

Ryan, who did a course in digital photography at Southport College in 2004, now uses a headset to control his computer and create fantastical digital images from original photographs (see note 1).

“Taking photographs myself is impossible but I’m too much of a perfectionist to let friends and family take the photos I use in my work. So, I use online image libraries when it comes to finding source images for my manipulations,” he said.

“When I’m choosing images, I usually have an idea in mind for the sort of photos I need. The most important part to get right is matching the perspective and lighting when compositing an image.”

Ryan, who lives in Leigh, near Wigan, now has his own website from which he sells his work but he also takes commissions with clients often providing their own photographs.

Copies of the canvases on display at Southport hospital are available to order from Ryan who is giving 50% of the profit to the Spinal Injuries Action Group charity which supports patients.

Clinical Director of the Spinal Injuries Centre Dr Clive Glass said: “Ryan is unusual that he has turned what was part of his rehabilitation into a livelihood. He’s a great example of someone who’s not letting his disability stopping him achieving.

“We’re delighted to show off Ryan’s work and it is very generous of him to give a donation to the Centre from any orders.”

Issued by Tony Ellis, marketing and communications manager
Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

Telephone 01704 704494

Notes for editors

1. Ryan uses a headset connected to control his computer. There are three small infrared sensors located in the centre, the right and left side of the headset. When he turns his head, the sensors pick up the movement and move the on-screen cursor. To left-click his mouse, Ryan blows into a tube. To right-click, he presses down on a button which rests on his shoulder.

2. Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust manages Southport and Formby District General Hospital and Ormskirk and District General Hospital. It is also responsible for many community healthcare services for adults in Southport, Formby and West Lancashire. The Trust provides healthcare to a population of 258,000 people and employs 3,400 staff.

3. Care of people with spinal cord injuries began in the North West in 1944 but it was only in 1947 that a group of patients were transferred to the then Promenade Hospital in Southport, establishling one of the first generation of spinal injuries centres in the country.

The North West Spinal Injuries Centre admits people from across England’s North West, parts of North Wales and the Isle of Man with a total catchment of more than 7m people.

Annually, we treat around 150 inpatients with 43 resident at any one time. The average age of patients is 48. A quarter of patients are victims of motor vehicle injuries while a further 10% have been hurt in falls. Sports injuries account for a further 9% with diving the leading cause.


Two of Ryan's images which are on show at Southport hospital ...