Mr. Gregory Burns overcame significant challenges to achieve international success both as an athlete and an artist. He proves daily that art and sport can co-exist on the highest levels. He is a world champion Paralympic swimmer who has won five gold and silver medals and broken four world records in three Paralympic Games. He is also a world-class contemporary artist, whose abstract impressionist paintings and exhibitions have received international acclaim for more than three decades. His work has focused on contemporary pieces of the human form in athletic performance, as well as landscapes and architectural images that he has observed on his extensive travels of the world.
“My passion for mobility motivates me to explore the world and all types of movement,” Burns said. “Painting the human form while engaged in dynamic sporting activities is how I express the power of the human spirit.”
Burns believes that polio, a disease long considered eradicated, is what galvanized him to pursue such a remarkably active set of dual careers as artist and athlete. A child of U.S. Foreign Service parents, Burns contracted the disease while they served in the Middle East during the late 1950s. Born in Washington, D.C., Burns has lived around the world and currently resides in Singapore.
Burns earned his B.A. in Communication Studies with a minor in Art in 1980 from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He did graduate studies in Chinese painting, calligraphy and art history at Chung Da University in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1985. He earned his Master of Fine Art in painting at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia in 1999.
Burns has been the invited Artist-in-Residence at more than 30 resorts across the globe and has held numerous solo exhibitions around the world.
Burns competed in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Paralympic Games as a member of the USA Disabled Swim Team, capturing five gold and silver medals while breaking four world records. After retiring from competitive swimming he went on to complete the Korea IronMan race and the Singapore Half-IronMan. As a motivational speaker, Burns has sought to inspire audiences worldwide and has published three books: “Painted Journey,” “The Art of Mindfulness,” and “Color Your Life.”