Memoirs of an English Wolf

21 Mar

by Gavin Jones

Number 22 – In the Studio

I sat in the corner of the studio and began to draw. I used oil pastels because they would smudge and I could scratch them. The colors could smear into each other. I could attempt to create a facsimile of the world my eye saw. Drawing could become a testament to the form and colors of blindness.

Before the year was out I would be having a transplant which – hopefully – would restore my sight. Drawing this different vision was pretty important to me, although I had long since given up the dream of following a career as a visual artist. This sight was not, in itself a disability. It was an ability unique to me. I had a vision impossible to be shared with others. That is the thing with much that is known as blindness: it is anything but the inability to see. Sure, I couldn’t even see the wall the eye-chart sat on when tested at the hospital, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t see. I lived in a world where half of my vision was “normal”, and half was that of another reality. If it hadn’t been for the appalling pain of my condition, I would have found much to enjoy in that world. As it was I had to be “cured” or I would lose my eye completely. And so I went for the checks, the tests and the pre-op meetings up in Moorfield’s in London.

 The studio had a ladder in the middle and partition walls between people’s spaces. All of this swirled into a mass of poorly defined, almost-shapes. I had to unthink what I knew to be there, to let my blind eye take over.  Only then could I see the world as I saw it. Around me, students busied themselves with work. Dancers planned their ideas in diagrams, musicians read their scores and drew up their tracklists, serious visual artists drew, collected objects with the right look, or painted. I sat cross-legged, my sketchbook propped on my knee. This would be my last chance to draw with both my own eyes. Soon I would literally be drawing the world partly from another’s viewpoint. Soon I would cease to be complete.

Gavin Jones offers a short piece as submission from a series of memoirs he recently wrote recalling his university years (in the later 1980s and early 90s). He is a keratoconus sufferer and in 1988 had a full corneal transplant in his right eye. This transplant has recently failed, and he is about to have another. At the time of the first transplant, he was an art student in Brighton, UK.  The piece submitted describes an attempt to capture what he saw through his affected eye prior to surgery.

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3 Responses to “Memoirs of an English Wolf”

  1. audreydemmitt March 21, 2014 at 8:45 AM #

    Bravo Gavin! What a beautiful piece you have written. Keep writing and I hope all goes well with your new transplant.

  2. Dweezil1968 March 24, 2014 at 10:19 AM #

    Reblogged this on Keratoconus GB Living with Keratoconus.

  3. playingthehandiwasdealt March 25, 2014 at 4:29 AM #

    A truly beautiful glimpse into your personal journey with keratoconus. I wish I could find beauty in this ghosted mess, but perhaps that’s why I was never an artist. 😉

    Best wishes with your upcoming transplant/graft.
    A

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