Smith, who lived at Rose Haven Nursing Home in Oregon since 1967 until his death seven years ago at 85 years old, was born with severe spastic cerebral palsy and was unable to feed or dress himself. However, Smith's determination never gave up, as he managed to teach himself how to use ten characters on a typewriter to create portraits, landscapes, and other incredible masterpieces.
Although he never learned how to read or write, Smith painstakingly taught himself how to create stunning art using just one finger, spending hours, days and months laboring over his work which decorated the halls of Rose Haven.
According to a report about Smith's amazing skills at both art and the game of chess, it was the calculated planning needed to excel at chess that enabled him to create his art.
"Paul's technique requires that the entire picture must be planned before he starts. For example, on the teddy bear... Paul would have needed to make allowances from the beginning for the white space that creates the scarf."
Smith's memory lives on to his "family'-- the staff and residents of nursing home--through his masterpieces displayed in the halls.
"The artist is even more inspiring than his art," said his friends. "He is such a terrific person, such a humble man, such a gentle soul."
A devout Catholic, Smith was inspired by his faith to create his art, and believed that his talent was a gift from God. Much of his work reflected his faith, as he made stunning replicas of "The Last Supper" and images of Jesus Christ.
When people told Smith that they could never do what he did, he always responded with encouragement, saying, "What can you do?"
KING-TV (2004): An extraordinary man with a severe disability creates incredible works of art using a typewriter.