It’s easy to imagine blindness as a crippling disability that would end a visual artist’s career, but in John Bramblitt’s case, his blindness was actually what sparked his career as an artist. Bramblitt began to paint in 2001, when he lost his sight due to epilepsy.


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Bramblitt is “functionally blind,” which means that his eyes can only differentiate between sunlight and darkness. Despite this, he has developed a novel way to paint – by using textured paints to feel his way around the canvas. “Basically what I do is replace everything that the eyes would do for a sighted artist with the sense of touch,” he writes on his website. “The raised lines take care of finding your placement on the canvas.

He also has an interesting solution for color; “All of the bottles and paint tubes in my studio are Brailled, and when mixing colors I use recipes. In other words I will measure out different portions of each color that I need to produce the right hue. This is no different than using a recipe to bake a cake.

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John Bramblitt went blind in 2001 due to complications from epilepsy

“At first the idea of being able to draw without eyesight didn’t even occur to me”

“It wasn’t until a year after going blind that I began to figure out a way to be able to draw again”

“Basically what I do is replace everything that the eyes would do for a sighted artist with the sense of touch”

“When you break it down the eyes really only do two things for a painter; they allow you to know your placement on a canvas, and it allows you determine color”

“Over time I have developed different techniques that allow me to be much more precise when it comes to me laying down the lines”

“All of the bottles and paint tubes in my studio are Brailled, and when mixing colors I use recipes… I will measure out different portions of each color that I need to produce the right hue”

“The first art shows that I did I never told anyone that I was blind”

“I didn’t tell people that I was blind not because I was ashamed, but because I didn’t want it to affect the way they perceived the art”