Adaptive Art Techniques Help to Empower Creativity for All

Shrink Wrap Art Specialty of Artist with Cerebral Palsy

Artist Charles Jefferson at a desk painting with a shrink wrap technique to apply paint to his canvas.

For many people with disabilities, communication is often difficult. Adaptive art tools and materials help to remove these barriers, enabling artists with disabilities to express themselves and communicate their ideas and creativity through art. Charles Jefferson, a local artist living with cerebral palsy and a student at Santa Barbara Art Works has difficulty moving his arms and hands to paint. To support his needs, Charles uses shrink wrap to apply paint to his canvas and to create unique bold textures. This adaptive art technique helps Charles communicate depth, realism, and a whole host of other positive qualities within his artwork.

“My style can be described as expressive, where I just go with the flow. It isn’t precise or planned out, but more of a gradual process where I never know what I’m going to get until the end,” states Jefferson. When things shut down due to the pandemic, I was watching documentaries about the moon, sun, and planets in our solar system and was inspired to create each planet in a series of large paintings.”


Charles Jefferson will be the featured artist at “God’s Planets”, a new arts exhibition and collection of planet paintings on Thursday, April 7th, 2022, from 5:00 - 8:00PM at Santa Barbara Art Works, 28 East Victoria Street in downtown Santa Barbara. The public is invited to attend the exhibit’s opening reception with live music and artwork for sale by 15 local artists with disabilities.


Artist Charles Jefferson inside his studio holding a large canvas painting of the Earth. There are several other large paintings behind him on easels.

“Our gallery showcases work that can be considered lowbrow art which often has a sense of humor. It may not be for everyone, but it allows our students to have fun and express themselves in ways they choose”, shares Santa Barbara Art Works Studio Manager, Jacob Allio. “Our walls are full of great pieces; the type of art that makes you smile.”

Santa Barbara Art Works is an arts studio and gallery with a vision of helping artists with disabilities create, show, and sell their work professionally. Additionally, the gallery produces custom-designed adaptiv