Date: October 3, 2008
Contact: Eric Matanyi
Governors State University
Phone: (708) 534-4044
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
University Park, IL, October 3, 2008 – Dan Keplinger was born on January 19, 1973 an apparent stillbirth, not breathing at all. More than a minute later, he was revived. But it was too late; the damage was done. Deprived of oxygen for so long, Keplinger developed Cerebral Palsy.
But the same fighting spirit that helped Keplinger survive a perilous birth has helped this now 35-year-old man develop into a critically acclaimed artist whose work has been featured in both solo and group exhibitions nationwide. Moreover, he is both the on-screen subject and the writer of “King Gimp,” an HBO film that won an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject in 2000. The film’s title aptly describes Keplinger himself, who says, “Most people think gimp means someone with a lame walk. But gimp also means a fighting spirit.”
Keplinger will bring his remarkable tale of perseverance, determination and fighting spirit to the College of Health and Human Services at Governors State University on Wednesday, October 22, 2008.
Keplinger’s award-winning documentary, “King Gimp,” will be screened at 3 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. in Sherman Recital Hall. At 5:30 p.m., Keplinger will host a meet-the-artist discussion entitled “Keys to Success.”
For Keplinger, painting is more than just a creative outlet. It is his voice, quite literally. “My art speaks what I would be saying with words,” Keplinger said in an interview for “Ability Magazine.” “Translating myself onto canvas became my language, something I needed to exist.”
For Keplinger, daily activities like getting from place to place, eating, and communicating are quite challenging. To create his paintings, Keplinger uses brushes attached to a headpiece.
“Obstacles and challenges are a universal part of the human condition,” Keplinger writes in his Artist’s Statement. “We all face them in everyday life; however, we also have a choice as to how we deal with them. Many of us are likely to get discouraged during difficult times in our lives. In my work, I hope to show everybody that they have the ability to persevere.”
In addition to his artwork, Keplinger has also become a national speaker sought by diverse groups, including federal and state agencies, corporations and disability organizations.
Keplinger’s October 22 presentation and movie screenings are free and open to the public. Governors State University is located at 1 University Parkway, University Park, Illinois. For additional information, call (708) 534-7290.