31 Days of SMA: Creating Art Has Expanded My World

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by BNS Staff |

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Photo courtesy of Pia Noi Schmid

Day 13 of 31

This is Pia Noi Schmid’s (@pianschmid) story:

I’m Pia Noi Schmid. “Noi” is my middle name — it means “little” in Thai. Cute, isn’t it? When I was 2 years old, I was diagnosed with SMA type 2.

In kindergarten, I loved to draw with markers. I didn’t like pencils very much because you need to put so much pressure on them to get any result, which is exhausting. Today, I’d say that my drawings of horses and stuffed animals were pretty good for my age.

In primary school, I’d already won a Germany-wide art competition for disabled children. (I don’t know why there was a separate competition for the disabled, but that’s another topic.) From year to year, I lost strength in my muscles, so my artwork became smaller. The creativity, time, and love I put into my art, on the other hand, became bigger. I began to experiment with different styles and varied the utensils I use. I also started my first Instagram (art) account: @doodle_pia.

At age 17, my then-occupational therapist, and now friend, told me it was a shame to let my drawings and paintings get covered in dust, and organized my first art exhibition in a social welfare office.

Because of my artwork being so small, my friend and I have made huge prints in addition to the originals, so that everyone can see the details of my art.

Since then, I’ve had the privilege of doing more exhibitions and vernissages (or private viewings). At my first vernissage I was so excited, I almost cried during my speech. I’ve also given interviews on my art and my life as someone with SMA. For three years now, my art has been available as prints to hang on walls, and sometimes even as postcards and stickers, too.

Art. It’s like meditation — you don’t think of anything else while you’re creating it, not even the piece you’re creating. Creativity, joy, and peace flow through me when I’m drawing. I think most of the strength in my arms and hands that remains I owe to the artwork I’ve created.

Closing note: Expressing emotions and thoughts as visual stimuli is sometimes easier than expressing them in words.

SMA News Today’s 31 Days of SMA campaign will publish one story per day for SMA Awareness Month in August. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofSMA, or read the full series.