Our Story - Archer Senft Creates the Slimeyard Snail

Slimeyard Slimes is the creation of Archer Senft


Archer is a 19-yr old artist who suffered a severe spinal cord injury on August 5, 2015. When he first regained the partial use of his arm, Archer’s first drawing was a snail. That snail is the inspiration for Slimeyard Slimes and it appears on our OG Snail Ties. Since that first rough attempt to begin again with creating art, with the help of Match Zimmerman at McDonogh School and cool technology from Apple and Adobe Illustrator, Archer has really gotten into graphic design as a way of regaining his ability to create art. The Slimeyard Slimes T-shirt designs are a fun project where Archer riffed on his original snail design to create amusing and colorful shirts.

Here is Archer’s story in his own words:

Instantly, my body went limp. I was powerless as the smothering weight of the water closed in around me. The only thought in my head was that this would be the end for me as I desperately screamed at the silent deafness. As the water rushed into my lungs and the world faded to black, I was left with nothing. Nothing but my swirling, worthless thoughts.

On Wednesday, August 5 of last year, my life took a drastic turn in an entirely new direction. I went for a dip in the ocean, as I've done countless times before, but instead of coming up for air seconds later, I shattered a vertebrae in my spine and drowned, nearly costing me my life. In an instant I was stripped of my independence, a fact that I had very little time to comprehend in the months following my accident. I not only fought for my life, but also to regain as much muscle function as my injury would allow. At first I couldn't even breathe on my own, much less speak, eat, or move anything but my head.

The first thing this taught me was the value of relationships. I know it sounds cliché, but without the incredible support of my family and friends, there is no doubt in my mind that I would not be where I am today. It is so important to surround yourself with good people; people who genuinely care about you and have an interest in the path you take through life, whether it be parents, siblings, friends, or teachers. Although it is true that I have come a long way in the year since August 5th, progress has been at a snail’s pace. I've spent innumerable hours in physical therapy, and yet, I'm still entirely dependent on other people for just about every aspect of my life. What I've discovered is that patience is not only a virtue, but also a necessity in life. I'm definitely not perfect; I often let my own frustrations dictate my actions. However, personal frustration can be my most effective motivator for improvement. In my case, my injury immediately limited me in countless areas, like athletics, art, and even cooking. While these doors are now closed, my eyes have been opened to many new passions, and I have a unique perspective into the values and qualities that are most important to my identity. Primarily, these are the things that give me joy, a sense of self worth, and most importantly, a deep appreciation for the kindness of others.

What I've discovered is a profound appreciation for my intelligence, and the importance of a good education. Although I am physically limited now, everything that makes me who I am remains intact, including every capacity of my brain. While learning has always been something I've enjoyed, I'm embarrassed to admit that I was never truly grateful for the education I'd been provided by my parents. It's funny how spending a few months in a hospital without school or any true intellectual stimulation provides so much clarity amidst all the chaos. The truth is, I love to learn, and I want to realize my full academic potential, regardless of my physical situation.

My injury has also awakened me to the daily joy I find in being able to think creatively, and ushered me into new, previously unexplored outlets for my creativity, like digital art. I am so lucky to be surrounded by people who have pushed me to find creative solutions to my everyday problems, not allowing me to be hindered or discouraged by the limitations I've encountered. Instead, I've been encouraged to reflect on the great journey that life has taken me on in the last year, and have been able to see the gifts amongst all the turmoil.

Ultimately realizing that my life is only beginning...here I come University of Pennsylvania Class of 2021!

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