Through MadebyMouth on Etsy, Rebecca Koltun has sold approximately 200 unique pieces of art. Etsy is an online site where sellers list their handmade items and buyers find something unique to purchase. It is also where Koltun’s stellar, 5-star reviews showcase the enthusiasm of her original artwork, digital downloads, and holiday cards.
In addition to her painting style, what sets Koltun apart from her fellow artists is her byline, “Everything painted by mouth by quadriplegic.”
In March of 2021, when she was 21-years old, Koltun suffered a freak ski accident, leaving her unable to breathe on her own. “I was skiing with some friends in Vermont. While I do not recall the day itself, I was told that I had a very bad fall. I woke up in a hospital in New Hampshire, paralyzed from the neck down and attached to a ventilator,” she explains in an on-line interview.
Koltun’s technique, painting by mouth, requires some assistance, as she is unable to change paint brushes on her own. Other than that bit of help, the rest of the process is completed by the artist herself, carefully adding detail to the serene landscapes she favors.
“I never really had an interest in art. I was an athlete. I played soccer and basketball and I loved to run. I liked to doodle on pieces of paper, and I was pretty good at it but never considered myself an artist or interested in art,” she says.
“I started painting at my rehabilitation center to strengthen my neck and get more range of motion. I was getting better and better at it, and I really liked the idea of being creative. I also relished in the fact that I was doing something that did not involve staring at a screen.”
Koltun had an art sale in July where she sold notecards featuring her paintings. Some family friends asked if she would create Christmas cards to sell at their church, excited that they could sell numerous packs of cards. Once Koltun created those cards, she decided to make Hanukkah cards, as well as holiday-neutral cards. Six notecards and envelopes were packaged together and sold for $20 on Etsy.
“I definitely notice myself progressing more and more each day that I paint. That’s something I miss about athletics – the constant desire to better yourself. I’m glad I found it in some shape or form in art,” she says.
“I also love the positivity and joy that my art brings people. I think people are proud to have my work in their house and support my journey.”
Find Rebecca Koltun’s art at MadebyMouth on Etsy.