Born on 18 July 1961 in Potsdam, Thomas Kahlau suffered paraplegia as the result of a swimming accident in 1976, which left him completely paralysed. From 1978, he learned to perform many tasks with his mouth, including his first attempts at painting. Following this, he attended a painting and drawing course with a painter and art teacher for one year. He received a scholarship from the Association in 1986 and since then has worked intensively on his artistic development. He was accepted as an Associate Member of the VDMFK in 1992 and only three years later became a Full Member. In July 2013, he was elected Member of the Board on the occasion of the General Meeting in Vienna.