[Art_beyond_sight_educators] artist, Sacks, comic book artist, Make documentary, photographer

Lisa Yayla fnugg at online.no
Fri Jul 15 13:24:52 UTC 2011

Blind artist paints Gus Poyet's portrait

Seagulls boss Gus Poyet was seeing double thanks to the talents of blind 
artist Matt Rhodes.

Mr Rhodes has virtually no sight after being blinded in a car accident.

Ovingdean-based charity for blind servicemen St Dustan's, has been 
helping him to paint-- something he never did before losing his vision.

Mr Rhodes, 36, of Telscombe Cliffs, presented Mr Poyet with this 
portrait on Tuesday.

A Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club spokesman said: "Gus absolutely 
loved the picture.

"Matt is really talented and Gus was blown away when he saw it.

Last Night's TV - Perfume, BBC4; Imagine, BBC1

Last night's return of *Imagine* was utterly fascinating. Alan Yentob 
was talking to Oliver Sacks, who opened up for the first time about his 
"face blindness". He's had it since childhood, and it leaves him wholly 
unable to recognise even the most familiar of faces. To test him, Yentob 
held up pictures of famous figures to see who he'd get. Those he could 
name were all educated guesses: the Queen, because she looked "imperious 
and old", Barack Obama, giving a speech. It doesn't always work: Oprah, 
"young black and famous" is inferred to be Michelle Obama. A stab at 
Elvis is equally unsuccessful.

Thanks to Sacks's own neurological expertise, he can talk about his 
condition with remarkable authority. Amazingly, he can't even recognise 
himself, so mirrors and windows can be confusing. One incident saw him 
patting down his hair when faced with a similarly bearded man on the 
other side of the window. But his wasn't the only experience we heard 
about. Working on his book The Mind's Eye, Sacks had come across all 
sorts of cases -- people who have come to him, he says, as a kind of 
"last resort". There was artist Chuck Close, also face-blind, who has 
made a career out of painting ultra-real, giant portraits. Not being 
able to recall images has left him looking at people not as fixed 
subjects but as "a continuum" -- every time they move, they're a new 
sight. And there was Danny, a deaf former restaurateur, whose vision is 
slowly diminishing until, one day, he will become completely blind. And 
Sue, who lacked three-dimensional vision her entire life until a few 
simple visual exercises saw her slowly regain it. My favourite story, 
though, was that of Howard Engel, author of the Benny Cooperman crime 
novels. Awaking one day to find himself faced with a newspaper written 
in a foreign alphabet, he assumed he was the subject of a practical 
joke. Until, that is, he looked around and realised he couldn't read a 
thing. A stroke has left him able to write, but not to read, at least 
not conventionally. Since the incident, he's managed to devise a whole 
new kind of reading, imperceptibly tracing the shapes of the letters 
with his tongue on his teeth so he can understand them. His latest work, 
Memory Book, has been his most successful ever.


Comic book artist Gene Colan

... Evanier said that Colan was "a charming, self-effacing gentleman who 
was genuinely moved when fans tried to tell him how good he was and how 
much joy his work had given them." In recent years, Colan had glaucoma, 
and was nearly blind in one eye and limited vision in the other, but 
continued to work....


/Make/: Outsider Art and the Blessed Compulsion

The power of the documentary as a medium comes from the telling of the 
timely, yet untold story. In /Make/, directors Scott Ogden and Malcolm 
Hearn tell four distinctive stories of earnest lives lived on the 
margins of American society. The structure of the film is tidy and 
straightforward: a quadruple profile comprised of four cycles containing 
four scenes each, which detail each artist respectively. Viewers of the 
documentary proper who might be anticipating the excavation of the 
artists' aesthetic considerations and the artworks' relevance within the 
greater art world are likely to be disappointed (the greatest insights 
into the art itself can be found in the DVD's Special Features).

It is obvious that while the mental states of the artists undoubtedly 
contribute to the art itself, it is the process of making art that 
enables the makers to transcend their own physical and psychological 
limitations. Judith Scott is deaf and has Down's syndrome. Ike Morgan 
has schizophrenia. Hawkins Bolden is blind. Royal Robertson has paranoid 
schizophrenia. And yet their limitations do not define them as artists, 
but rather serve only as the prisms through which the creators' inherent 
talents shine.


Make site

Light and shadow

He was diagnosed with Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) last 
April. It's a rare mitochondrial (inherited from the mother's side) 
degenerative disease that leads to a loss of vision.

In his case, the loss happened drastically.

Legally blind, the young photographer can't see details or small objects 
like he used to. He can still see peripherally, but a greyish blob 
clouds his central vision. Yet he has persevered as a photographer.

In fact, Ross says his lack of focus on detail has helped him to better 
compose his shots.

"It's a bit trickier to see details, I just have to look much closer 
now," he says, as though it's as simple as a crane of the neck.

Sometimes it is. And sometimes it isn't.

He installed magnifying software on his computer and uses a monocular 
(like a mini-telescope) to read street signs or see a bird across the 
lake --- both make a big difference.

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