The works of art below are amazing, not just because they have been created by an artist who is completely blind but in their own right. John Bramblitt is a gifted artist who happens to be blind, rather than a blind artist. His first shows, all successful, did not disclose that he was blind in that he wanted to have his art judged and looked at as art in itself.
The following is from his website, ‘Sightless Works: The Art of John Bramblitt’, at:
Prior to his blindness, John studied at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, where he graduated with honors. When Bramblitt lost the last of his vision 13 years ago due to complications with epilepsy, his hopes of becoming a creative writing teacher were shattered and he sunk into a deep depression. He felt disconnected from family and friends, alienated and alone. But then something amazing happened-- he discovered painting. He learned to distinguish between different colored paints by feeling their textures with his fingers. He taught himself how to paint using raised lines to help him find his way around the canvas, and through something called haptic visualization, which enables him to "see" his subjects through touch. He now paints amazingly lifelike portraits of people he's never seen--including his wife and son.
While art was always a major part of John’s life it was not until he lost his sight in 2001 that he began to paint, and it was then that he says, “Art reshaped my life.” John’s paintings are intensely personal, and are mostly taken from real people and events in his life. John’s workshops are unique in the art world in that they not only span the gap between beginning and professional artists, but also include adaptive techniques for people with disabilities. According to John, “Everyone has an artist somewhere in them; sometimes they just need a little help letting it out.”
Also from the website:
...in answer to the question of whether I consider myself a blind artist I have to say -- Not really; not anymore than I would consider myself a brown haired artist or a blue eyed artist. The blindness and epilepsy are parts of me that are considered disabilities, but they are just some of the characteristics that comprise me as a whole -- they no more define me as a person or artist as does any other single characteristic such as my height or weight. It is easy to focus on limitations, the aspects of life that disabilities restrict, but you could just as easily say this about any of your defining characteristics.
On his website John Bramblitt explains that touching an object translates into an image in his brain, that he is “seeing” by touching.
...if the brain had another way of receiving real-time information about an object other than the eyes it would be possible to visualize that object. This is exactly what happens when I use my hands to see an object or face.
However he does it, I love his works. He is an inspiration.
Some of his works:
More works by John Bramblitt in future Bytes.