[Art_beyond_sight_theory_and_research] Jim Stevens artist
Lisa.Yayla at statped.no
Fri Dec 9 11:06:19 UTC 2011
Reinvention | A Letter to the Editor from Jim Stevens
Dear Artist’s Magazine,
In this day of tough times, lost jobs, and people needing to reinvent themselves I wonder if my story might help others find the courage to face the hard changes in their lives and understand that reinventing yourself can be tough, but it can also lead to a new and successful future.
In 1970, while a Sergeant in the Army, I was shot in the head during a combat mission in Vietnam. It left me with bullet fragments in my head and permanent severe migraines. Twenty-three years later, in 1993, the fragments caused a stroke in my visual cortex, leaving me suddenly and legally blind.
... I determined to reinvent myself and become a full-time artist despite my disability. I began by finding a variety of special lenses to help with my technical skills and then struggled to relearn my craft for the next two years....
At the same time, at the urging of my daughters, I also began the unlikely study of the martial arts. The physical and mental setbacks and frustrations were crushing at times, but I refused to quit either my new life goals.
Today, my art is galleried across the country, my work is collected internationally, I have written three books on art published by Schiffer Publishing, and last year I was honored by the Kennedy Center as a Kennedy Center Registered VSA Artist in both the visual and literary arts...
I also became the only legally blind man to ever win the men’s fighting competition at the martial arts “Tournament of Champions” –an event with martial artists from across the country. And my sensei made sure no one knew I was blind until after the competition was over. I left the tournament with a broken nose, three cracked ribs, a torn rotater cuff, a dislocated knee – and the first place trophy as Tournament Champion.
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