[Art_beyond_sight_educators] The Blind Artist and the Volvo
fnugg at online.no
Sat Dec 12 16:07:39 UTC 2009
Excerpt from The New York Times article
"IN September, shortly before Esref Armagan, a Turkish artist, was
escorted into Volvo’s design studio in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he
would be the first person from outside the company invited to encounter
the 2011 Volvo S60
he said, “I promise not to look.”
Then Mr. Armagan smiled — he is, after all, blind.
The moment is captured in a new promotional video — posted on Volvo’s
page and on YouTube — documenting how the automaker commissioned a
painting of the S60 by Mr. Armagan, who is filmed running his hands
along the vehicle’s exterior before rendering sketches, and, finally,
Filmed in a documentary style, the five-minute video — done by the Euro
RSCG 4D advertising agency in Amsterdam and the Great Guns production
company in London — is a novel approach for a teaser campaign.
Automakers previewing new or overhauled models often release photographs
of the cars obscured by shadows or draped in cloth. Here Volvo likewise
offers tantalizing close-up glimpses of the vehicle as the artist
touches it, but the video turns out to reveal less about the S60 than
about Mr. Armagan.
“I didn’t start out to be an artist, I just wanted to learn about the
world around me that I was living in,” Mr. Armagan says in Turkish in
the subtitled video. “Feeling around with my fingers has completely
erased my blindness. It’s as if I see like anyone else.”
The avuncular Mr. Armagan, who is 56 and wears Ray-Ban Aviator
sunglasses, was born blind and impoverished, according to a biography on
his Web site. The self-taught artist’s work has been exhibited in
Turkey, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.
“Esref is the blind person who has the largest set of perspective
drawing skills to come to light,” said John M. Kennedy, a psychology
professor at the University of Toronto at Scarborough, who has done
research over three decades on how the blind draw.
Some blind artists have drawn from two-point perspective, capturing two
surfaces of an object, which in the case of a box means being able to
draw it at eye level while facing a corner. But Dr. Kennedy said Mr.
Armagan was unusual in his ability to draw from a three-point
perspective, capturing that same corner of a box, but from above or below."
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