Documentary About Fort Smith Artist Debuts During Unexpected Project

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- While International artists leave their creative mark on Fort Smith, another artist born and raised in the city is leaving a mark in a different way.

Fort Smith native Ryan Starkey released a special documentary on Thursday (July 27) about his life and journey.

The 29-year-old artist has a dyskinetic movement disorder, meaning he shows symptoms similar to someone who has Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis.

“My physical condition is something that’s unknown, meaning they don’t have a diagnosis."

However, he said he doesn’t want to be known for his disability; he wants to be recognized for his artwork first.

That’s the message behind the new documentary called “I Am We.”  The six-minute-long film was created by Fort Smith videographer and former 5NEWS photographer Phillip Person.

“He’s a great soul and has a great heart," Person said. "I did this for free as a passion project.”

Person began the documentary in October. It premiered Thursday night in the midst of the Unexpected Project in Fort Smith.

Several members of the community showed up and to share their support for Starkey and Person’s creative spirits.

“I think it’ll get people talking and raise awareness to the fact that, you know, 'Oh yes, you know you can have a disability and be an artist first and foremost.'"

Now Starkey said he is hoping this documentary will be shared all over the world, and that it will change the way others view people who have disabilities.

 

Watch the film here.