It can be difficult to be a creative person. There’s all sorts of blocks to manage: the elusiveness of inspiration, the difficulty finding fulfilling that pays, the time and energy necessary to perfect and develop one’s skills. Rather than express an infinite nature of possibilities, creative work is often about doing one’s best within the boundaries of a series of frustrating limitations.
Michelle Vandy has to work within those boundaries like everyone else, with one added limitation: she can’t use her hands.
Vandy has chronic RSI in both arms, which for most would mean giving up on a career in the visual arts. Not Vandy, though. On her website Look No Hands, Vandy details the multitude of techniques she tried in order to continue working. Her current method, which involves working a touchpad with her nose and lips, gives her just as much control as she used to have with her fingers. Check out her process:
What’s fascinating about Vandy is not that she can draw incredibly well with her nose—well, okay, yes, that is fascinating. But even more fascinating is that not only did Vandy continue to find ways to work through her condition, but that that struggle opened her up creatively.
“I thought you were born with a certain amount of artistic talent or ability,” she says on Look No Hands. “But this type of thinking only makes you miserable, because any form of critique immediately becomes personal and you think your talent is being questioned. But let me tell you, that mindset won’t make you a great designer and my arms made me realize that. You cannot be afraid to be “bad”. You just have to realize your work isn’t finished yet and you need more practice. It takes courage to be imperfect.”
That’s something all creatives can learn from.