Mariusz Kedzierski was born in Poland. Despite being born without arms he went on to become an accomplished writer and motivational speaker, encouraging others to overcome their own personal limitations.
What were you like as a child? What are some of your most fond early memories?
My childhood was a time of happiness. I was growing up in a small town, where everyone knew that there is someone different. I used to play with my friends from kindergarten and didn’t really think about my disability. I knew I am not like everyone, but it was not a problem then.
Do you remember learning to draw at the age of the 3? What was it like to discover your own ability to create?
I wasn’t learning it then. It was just for fun. My first drawing was a task at kindergarten. We had to draw a scene from movie – The Lion King. I used to draw only when I had to do it.
What do you love most about your craft?
It would sound general, but it has changed my life in all ways. It’s difficult to explain, but art has changed my way of thinking. I became more self-confident, it is my work now, because of art I found my girlfriend and found out a lot about myself!
Was it hard to give up your drawing at age 12? How did it feel when you were able to get back to it?
It was not hard, because in the past I didn’t want to do it. I had no idea what I would do in my life.
Do you feel lucky to have been able to also work as a motivational speaker? How does it feel to be able to give others the gift of hope?
It is a huge pleasure and mission of my life to complete. My classmates used to play in the theater, but I preferred to keep away of stages. I didn’t want to perform. But, as I previously wrote, art changed my way of thinking, I knew that people need someone like me. I knew it when I saw Nick Vujicic for the first time. Then I decided to overcome my shame and practice speaking. And now I do it professionally.
Do you ever wish people wouldn’t put so much focus on the fact that you were born without arms? Do you enjoy having the chance to show people that sometimes there are no such things as limits?
No, I don’t. I like it, because that way I can show them that if I can do so many things without arms, then they should ask themselves the question, “What is my limitation and why it blocks me?”
Your work focuses mostly on portraits, what is it about the human form that you find most fascinating?
People inspire me. Their faces, eyes, beauty. They are full of feelings I want to capture in art, because art without feelings doesn’t exist for me.
Do you have a dream project you’d most like to bring into being?
The biggest dream was my solo exhibition in NYC and it happened almost a month ago in Caelum Gallery, Manhattan. Now I want to publish my first book.
What was it like to travel through Europe and do your work on the streets there? Do you have any interesting stories to tell from those travels?
That was amazing trip and amazing adventure. A great possibility to talk to people and motivate those who had no idea they needed it before. The possibility to find out more about their mentality. There were a lot of stories, but one was really special. That was in Paris. I met a girl and her family. She was the only one who was speaking English and French. They were afraid, because they were illegal immigrants. But when we were talking, she had tears in her eyes. She told me that was a very difficult time for them, they were running away from poverty and didn’t know what to do then. But I brought them a hope that even in the most difficult time they will survive and everything will be fine.
Are there any little known things about you that people might be surprised to learn?
Yes, there are! I am a huge fan of FC Barcelona, as I child I dreamed about playing there. As a teenager I danced salsa for two years. I have drivers license and I love luxury cars. Last weekend I was driving a Lamborghini Gallardo on Poznań Circuit, over 200km/h with only one finger.
What do you think is key to a life well lived?
I think that the key is to live a balanced life in every sphere of life. We can start doing great things only when we are satisfied with our family, work and every basic thing in our lives which are important for us. And maybe it sounds simple, but to celebrate the smallest things.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Just two words – be patient.
Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?
I would love to thank you for the interview. I hope it helps people to notice, that there are a lot of barriers on our way, that’s called life. But it doesn’t mean we have to stop fighting for our dreams, for better future. Focus on your goals and follow them, because time is running out and will never be back. Thank you.