For an artist, how important is the ability to see? For example, does a painter need sight in order to make artwork? Yes, such an individual does need sight, but not necessarily the type that comes through the eyes. Rather, they need sight that comes through the imagination. Artist John Bramblitt is proving this to the world by creating incredible paintings with only his fingers and his imagination at his disposal.
Studio artist John Bramblitt sees life in color, despite the fact that he is blind. His blindness, caused by epilepsy, intruded on his life about nine years ago, when he was just thirty years old. Adjusting to living with blindness after a lifetime of sightedness was certainly not easy. When asked what shade his initial depression was, he said, “Oh my word, it was the worst black. It was like being in a hole.” Amazingly, the artist began to learn to paint after these complications with his sight began.
Bramblitt’s paintings are just about as vivid as can be, which gives us a peek into his mind and allows us to see things from his perspective. But how does a blind individual know which colors to use and how to mix them to achieve the artful effects they desire? John Bramblitt has learned the “feel” of colors by memorizing the texture of different shades of paint. (The texture varies in each color due to the oil content in the paint.) He outlines what he wants to paint before rendering it, and he carefully guides the strokes of his brush with the help of his fingers.
This incredibly positive and unique artist often paints images of people’s faces, which is a difficult feat for someone who can physically see, let alone an artist who is blind. Bramblitt imagines a subject by touching his or her face. He used this technique on Tony Hawk, an individual he had never before seen in his life. The finished product resembled the subject remarkably. Bramblett has used the same technique on his wife and son. Although he has never seen either with his eyes, it’s obvious he has seen them perfectly in his mind, as his portraits of them are quite accurate.
Bramblett has great anticipation for his future as an artist. In his own words, “It’s brilliant (the future), it’s just the most brilliant colors and I can’t wait to see it take form, to see it take shape.”
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