AJ Brockman — professional artist, entrepreneur, brew house proprietor, and snappy dresser — grew up on television. At age 3, in his hometown of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., he was spotted in his power chair and put on camera by someone at the local Jerry Lewis Telethon. As he says now, he was nothing more than “a cute kid in a wheelchair.” For the next 15 years, he worked on the telethon in various capacities, including a five-year stint as a goodwill ambassador, and became a local celebrity. He can go back on YouTube and see himself at ages 3, 6, 9, on up to 18. “We’ve seen his whole life documented,” enthused a local anchorman, “from toddler to teenager.”
Now, all of 27, Brockman is a full-time, largely self-supporting artist, working with the latest digital technology to produce elegant, sure-handed representational paintings. Fleeting fame with Jerry Lewis had little to do with it. Born with spinal muscular atrophy, he developed a passion for art and learned to use ever-advancing digital technology to forge his own artistic path and live life on his own terms.
With a mellifluous voice, he set out to be a broadcaster of some sort, but according to his mom and current business partner, Jo Brockman, he was introduced to art by an inspiring middle school teacher who had no interest in excusing