Josef Habeler was born on 25 December 1944 in Wiener Neustadt. In December 2000 he fell off a tree and suffered a dislocation fracture of the cervical spine. He can no longer use his arms or legs. A several-week-long stay at the hospital was followed by nine months of rehabilitation. In July 2001, during the rehabilitation period, he realised that life could be worth living again. He discovered a different side of his life to which he did not have access previously-painting with the mouth. It fascinated him to such a degree that he became caught up in it. Mouth painting helped him to bear his fate and even made him forget it for hours.