Most people take for granted the ability to speak and to quite literally “say” what’s on their mind. It becomes second nature. For a small number of people, it is neither easy nor automatic. Communication is a constant struggle. Artist Ellen Skidmore is one of those people.
Skidmore tells about her difficulties growing up with a severe speech impediment in a children’s book called ELLEN: The Little Girl Who Found Her Voice. The book is illustrated by 28 paintings in her distinctive style – full of luminous color and delicate but whimsical subject matter.
“This project was simultaneously one of the most difficult and rewarding challenges for me as an artist,” said Skidmore. “Telling my story and, perhaps more importantly, deciding how best to illustrate it, flooded me with memories and brought me to a greater understanding of who I am as a person.”
Last month, Ellen, who hails from Kentucky, was the guest speaker at the Business for the Arts of Broward‘s ‘Arts Mean Business’ breakfast series held at the NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale and presented by Forre’ & Co. | Fine Art Gallery. Afterwards I sat down with Ellen for a candid discussion about growing up with a severe stutter, how she found her “voice” through her art and how she hopes her book can teach young people (especially girls) important lessons about overcoming bullying, alienation and insecurity.
And yeah, I had my cameras rolling. Check out the powerful video…