|Education||University of Texas at Arlington|
Early life and influences
Souders was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma. Hoping to become an illustrator he attended Trimble Technical High School in Fort Worth where he received daily instruction in commercial art. At age 14, his parents also enrolled him in a home study correspondence course offered by Art Instruction Schools which was founded in 1914 and well known for its "Draw Me" art introductory tests. He attended the University of Texas at Arlington where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design.
On August 5, 1972, three months before his 18th birthday, Souders dove into a local lake and hit a submerged object. He broke his neck and sustained a paralyzing spinal cord injury resulting in incomplete tetraplegia. He adapted and gradually regained enough function to write, paint and live independently. His drawing hand is paralyzed so his artworks are created entirely with wrist and arm movement.
Upon graduating college in May 1978, Souders was employed for a short time at a local advertising agency. He had his first one-man show of paintings on November 8, 1978. Based on the success of this first show, he left advertising to concentrate on painting full-time.
Many millions of Texans had a piece of Souders art in their home and or office when Southwestern Bell selected a painting called “County Seat” for the cover of the 1984-1985 phone book in Houston, San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth. The painting featured a red stone courthouse typical of many historic Texas courthouses.
Since 1990 Souders has created artworks for the Walt Disney Company. Souders' involvement with Disney originally began through his exhibits at the former "Old World Antiques" shop in Liberty Square at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. For ten years he was a featured artist at Disney's "Official Disneyana Conventions".
Charitable affiliations and advocacy
In 1988, Jean Kennedy Smith asked Souders to serve on the board of directors of VSA Arts, --the international organization on arts and disability of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Smith dedicated a chapter to Souders in her book Chronicles of Courage: Very Special Artists co-authored by George Plimpton. He is also profiled in VSA's 25th anniversary book "Journey To Here" and penned the introduction to the book "Putting Creativity to Work-- Careers in the Arts for People With Disabilities".
- Landry, Keith (2005). Enabled in Words: The Real Lives, Real Victories of People with Disabilities. U.S.A.: Enabled Media Group, Inc. pp. 211–214. ISBN 0976656019.
- Kennedy-Smith, Jean (1993). Chronicles of Courage: Very Special Artists. New York, NY: Random House. pp. 147–155. ISBN 0394570030.
- Hancock, Orville. "Bell rings success for Tarrent artist". Fort Worth Star-Telegram (June 19, 1985). Retrieved September 3, 2018.
- Loydean, Thomas (August 2, 1985). "Handicap doesn't slow 'telephone book artist'". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
- Fredrick, Linda. "Phonebook". University of North Texas Libraries Special Collection. KXAS-TV. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "Disabled Artist Will Pay A Visit To Disney World". Orlando Sentinel. 15 March 1992. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- "Disneyana Convention 2001 -Mouseplanet.com". Retrieved August 16, 2014.
- "Art In Embassies Program". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- Washington Mall -US Capitol Exhibition -VSA Permanent Collection Archived 2012-09-11 at Archive.is
- About VSA
- VSA Board Member |page XV.
- Chronicles of Courage: Very Special Artists.
- PARADE Magazine article
- Journey To Here
- Putting Creativity to Work.