PELLA, Wis. (WBAY) – An artist from the small town of Pella, Wisconsin, is known for his digital masterpieces.
Scott Menzel works from his studio in Pella, patient for the creative process to begin.
“In my world, nothing is fast,” Scott says.
Scott was born with a condition called spinal muscular atrophy type 2.
“It’s an inherited condition where my muscles don’t get the right signals, so muscle growth is stunted, so I’ve never really walked, I’ve been in a wheelchair my whole life,” Scott says.
Unable to do most of the things his friends loved, Scott fell in love with art at a young age.
“I was drawing cartoons and cars just to pass the time, then slowly progressing through school, doing t-shirts and different projects for school,” Scott explains.
After drawing all the faces of his 1993 Marion High School graduating class on a t-shirt, Scott earned a degree in graphic communication at St. Norbert College in De Pere.
He worked in college for ten years in a computer lab, helping teachers learn how to use assistive technology for students with disabilities.
On the side, he continued his work, receiving constant praise but inside not knowing if the compliments were sincere due to his disability.
“There’s always this doubt, well, they just say it’s nice, but I think the moment I realized that maybe there was something was that I participated in a contest and they obviously didn’t know who I was and I got my work published in an international magazine,” Scott said.
With newfound confidence, Scott returned to Pella.
“It’s kind of my home turf, which is kind of nice,” Scott said. “Everyone is like family in this area, so it’s comforting you’re not like a stranger.”
In 2014, he launched his own art business, Menzel Fine Art.
Using a trackball, on-screen keyboard, and traditional software like Photoshop, Blender, Art Rage, and Premiere, Scott entered the world of digital art.
“Really, I have no excuses. I have all the tools to be able to create anything I envision and now it’s up to me and my responsibility to be able to produce it,” Scott says.
“It’s a lifeline for him. Technology has allowed him to follow his art. He has lost movement in his hands over the years and now he can draw via the computer,” says mum Patti Menzel.
Scott’s art can be found at local hospitals, colleges, non-profit facilities, and businesses as far away as Milwaukee.
In recent years, he has moved from using canvas to transferring his art onto metal.
“All of a sudden you get that a-ha moment where it’s like okay, done.”
Scott considers his style mostly contemporary, with a focus on abstract ideas and all manner of creatures, like a spider titled “Strange Beauty.”
“It’s symbolic to me just because sometimes people are afraid of things they don’t understand, and like being in a wheelchair, sometimes people don’t know how to approach you, which I totally understand, I don’t I’m not offended and I try to break the ice with people,” says Scott.
With the help of family and friends, Scott is able to attend at least a dozen art shows each year across the state.
A proud mom sees this as an opportunity for her son to serve as an inspiration.
“To show the world what a person can do and is capable of,” says Patti.
Scott admits he’s proud of how far he’s come on a road traveled by very few.
“It’s pretty awesome, I’ll be honest with you. It’s awesome to be able to create, to do it for a living and then people see that it’s probably the best thing. I want people to see,” Scott says.
Scott’s dream is to one day open his own gallery and travel the world to showcase his work. Based on his incredible talent and incredible attitude, don’t be surprised to see this happen.
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