How Artists Paint With Their Feet

As it is, painting art is an incredibly hard skill to learn, taking lots of trial and error, practice, focus and dedication. It also allows us to tap into our creative self while also still using our brain to be critical and logical, just to make sure every brush stroke is made with purpose.

And so, seeing someone paint via an unconventional means, for example, via their feet, easily ups the ante for us, making us wonder how they started in the first place and how they reached their current state.

So, how do they do it? Science might be able to explain why.

Neural Map

In a new research published last September 10 in Cell reports, reporters revealed that unlike normal people, artists who use their toes to make their art have an unusual set of “neural footprints” in their brains. That is, their brains are usually accustomed to making sure each of their toes have its own “territory,” which then creates a well-organized and highly-fluid “toe map,” for lack of a better word.

“Sometimes, having the unusual case — even the very rare one — might give you important insight into how things work,” Denis Schluppeck, a neuroscientist of the University of Nottingham in England, who was not involved in the study, said.

Per scientists, this type of brain organization can’t be seen in people who have common toe dexterity since they’re mostly used for more passive activities like walking. As such, understanding how the body’s senses adapt along with the brain can bring great understanding to us.

According to the research, the skills that the two artists have (used in the study) are rare. For one thing, both are born without arms. As such, their whole lives have been lived by using their feet, allowing them to develop its dexterity and flexibility with activities such as eating with cutlery, using computers, writing and of course, painting.

The study was done via MRI scans that gently touched each toe of the participants. At the moment however, scientists are still unsure when these “brain maps” started developing. As such, more research is needed.

painting You don't have to be a professional painter to reap the benefits of this creative hobby. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay