At first glance, my work addresses my perception of society as a person with a disability.
Objects such as my head-stick and my wheel chair are referenced in my artwork as symbols of my everyday obstacles. These pieces, however, are about much more than my disability. I morph and combine these objects with images of my body to create my own vocabulary, which pertains to different life circumstances. Self-perception can be one of the biggest challenges to overcome. No matter how much one explains their situation, we can never fully understand the extent of their individual circumstances, nor think as they do. Obstacles and challenges are a universal part of the human condition. We all face them in everyday life, yet we have the ability to choose how we approach them. Many of us are likely to get discouraged during the difficult times in our lives. In my work I hope to encourage viewers to realize that they have the ability to persevere.
Some people know me as Dan Keplinger, others as King Gimp, but they both stand for loyalty, honesty and a fighting spirit. I was born with Cerebral Palsy on January 19, 1973. My formal education started when I entered early intervention at eighteen months of age and continued in special education until I was mainstreamed at the age of sixteen. It was then that I discovered my artistic talent. The finale to my formal education was obtaining my MFA at the age of thirty-five.
My life was the subject of the 2000 Oscar Award winning documentary “King Gimp”. I was then featured in a Cingular commercial during the 2001 Super Bowl. I currently travel nationally and internationally with my wife as an artist and speaker to inspire everyone to find their passion in life. Recently those travels included a live painting demonstration at a DC Metro Theater as well as a panel at the United Nations. In addition, I’ve completed an Artist Residency to produce prints.