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Body painter fights to overcome pain

Saturday 1 October 2011

From New Zealand newspaper Auckland NOW:


Sam Wheeler in action
Body painter Samuel Wheeler in action.

Body painter fights to overcome pain

By ESPNsoccernet staff
September 22, 2011

Artist Sam Wheeler doesn't let pain stop him from doing what he loves.

That's why he's entering the New Zealand Body Arts awards again this year.

The Titirangi resident suffers from fibromyalgia which causes pain and tenderness in his joints, muscles and tendons.

He is in almost constant pain and it was so severe during last year's awards that he wasn't able to complete his three entries to the standard he wanted.

"This year I'm only going to do one so it doesn't tax my body so much," he says.

Mr Wheeler's approach for this year's awards, held on Saturday at the ASB Theatre in the Aotea Centre, is to focus on flowers of the Pacific.

"My pieces are usually monstrous and dark but this year I want to show I can do something different."

The 39-year-old loves the way a painted body can look completely different on stage than in the dressing room.

He says it's easy to forget the event is a competition.

"I just enjoy it because you're surrounded by artists.

"If I could only paint on bodies I would."

He started out as an animator and also enjoyed painting. Mr Wheeler entered the awards for the first time in 2007.

He won two awards and his work was praised by Richard Taylor of creative design workshop Weta, making him determined to improve on what he'd done so far.

Mr Wheeler is looking forward to the event and wants to make the most of the opportunity, despite the pain he is in.

"There are some days when I struggle to get out of bed. But just because you're in pain it doesn't mean you can stop achieving your dreams."

The awards were started six years ago and organiser Mem Bourke says they have become better each year.

"This is our biggest and most spectacular show ever."

It features 54 artists in eight categories including illumination, special effects fantasy and hand-painted professional, which is the section Mr Wheeler is entering.

Visit for more information.


The above originally appeared here.


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