About the author: Brom Wikstrom

With mother, Dorothy in Venice 2006

Brom Wikstrom [b. 1953] is the second of five sons to Robert and Dorothy Wikstrom. Robert was an award-winning commercial artist, graphic designer and art director for Boeing as well as his own independent art service operating from the family home and various studios in downtown Seattle. Dorothy was a homemaker, skilled as a seamstress and a devout Catholic.

She would enroll her sons in a local Catholic elementary school and encourage their spiritual devotion as well as their scholastic aspirations. Brom developed an appreciation for the visual arts at this early age and embraced an unquestioning Christian faith. During his teen years he would question that faith directly without abandoning its central tenets of Love of thy neighbor, forgiveness of one’s enemies and sacrifice of self to a greater purpose. He would take part in the cultural events of his era and determine his future goal as a commercial artist. Entering public school in junior high, he would be branded a rebel by the school authorities and sought more independent methods of scholarship including reading classic literature that leaned heavily on adventure stories, beatnik poetry and archaic philosophy.

By the time Brom entered high school in 1969, he was socially conscious, embracing the anti-war movement, civil rights struggle and environmental awareness. He satisfied a longing for adventure by traveling by freight trains, hitchhiking across the country and signing on to a 6-month contract to process king crab in the Aleutian Islands. Two years of college prepared him for his career in commercial design and he was employed with a large commercial display company in New Orleans when the defining event of his life occurred.

While swimming in the Mississippi River, Brom sustained an injury to his spinal cord, resulting in high-level quadriplegia. During his critical care in New Orleans, he further sustained a lapse of care that nearly ended his life. Brom had been placed on a special rotating bed and was breathing through a trache tube inserted in his throat. During the rotation procedure, he was improperly secured to his bed and when he slipped away from the securing straps, his trache-tube was wrenched from his throat. Brom’s consciousness instantaneously shifted to an unearthly realm of brilliant light and rapid speed. He recalls this in further detail in his personal case study that follows.

Following a lengthy rehabilitation, Brom redeveloped his skills as an artist by holding a paintbrush in his mouth and was eventually elected to the select International Association of Mouth & Foot Painting Artists. Through this and other groups promoting the achievements of artists with disabilities, he has presented his paintings around the world and been recognized for his work teaching art to children with disabilities and serving as mentor and peer counselor to newly disabled individuals.

He and his wife Anne have been married over 30 years and her support has been instrumental in Brom’s continuing growth as an artist, writer and teacher. Their latest project is the construction of a visual art center in Anacortes, a scenic and historic location at the gateway to the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound, north of their home in Seattle. The center will house their extensive art collection, provide educational outreach to area schools and be a retreat for practicing visual and literary artists from around the world. More information on his site:www.bromwikstrom.com

Leap of Faith

watercolor 1995

Eternal Journey

watercolor 1994