Tag Archives: visually impaired artist

Colors on the Reservation

22 Aug

by Stella De Genova

Turquoise blue sky hangs over
orange clay pueblos
hot afternoon sun beating down

Arthritic fingers still nimble enough
to thread liquid silver strands
through red coral and fire opal

Amber beer bottles shattered on the road
black slate stone for protection
cold mountain nights chill to the bone

Deep, dark lines
ingrained in brown faces
hold secrets not to be told

Hair graying, brown eyes fading
look up to the new god in the heavens
praying for another tomorrow

Stella De Genova has had retinitis pigmentosa since childhood and is a visually impaired artist (Art by Stella M. De Genova).  She has a special affection for the people, colors and flavors of the southwest.  See more about Stella on the Statement page of this blog.


What Is the Right Color?

6 Mar

by Stella De Genova

What’s it like to be a visually impaired artist whose color differentiation is fading?  Frustrating may be the first word that comes to mind but I’m not going to be that hard on myself.  I take this as a new opportunity to break the rules and color outside of the lines. Depending the time of day or lighting, colors change and may or may not be so apparent.  And that’s for people with good vision.  If you look at something long enough, you’ll see more than one color in just about anything.  And you can paint white snow or a white vase without even using white paint.  So try as I may, I don’t always get it right, which is OK because it makes for new interpretations of everyday life.  It makes me smile when the art instructor critiques my piece and says “Green usually works better in skin tones than blue but that really worked for you.”  Little does she know that I thought I did use green!  Of course, if I start out really wanting something to be accurate, I’ll ask someone for the correct colors but as the picture takes its own shape and I keep adding new layers, the colors tend to change.  Yes, when this new aspect of my vision loss started, it was frustrating but I’m learning to be less of a perfectionist and ultimately, that means I have the freedom to have more fun.

This is an excerpt I wrote for Maribel Steel’s blog, At the Gateway to Blindness, and a piece of Part 2 of her series called The Art of Being Blind.  You can read Maribel’s full post and and Parts 1 and 3 at:  http://www.gatewaytoblindness.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-art-of-being-blind-part-2-what.html .

A Special Evening to Share

9 May

by Stella De Genova

This past weekend was our opening reception for the Visions In The Dark Art Show at the Calles y Suenos Gallery in Chicago.  The show exhibits the work of three visually impaired artists: David Simpson, Angela Geis and myself.  We also shared some of the poetry and essays that have been posted on this Vision Through Words blog.

Preparing for the show was a whole new experience for me since it was my first gallery show.  We all had our own art to finish, prepare and frame.  We met and exchanged phone calls to create and print up all of the promotional materials and press release for the show.  We traveled back and forth to the gallery and talked about the show to everyone we knew.  On the big day, we brought food, home-brewed beer and wine.  At 6:00, the art was hung and looking wonderful, the food and beverage tables were set and the guests arrived.  No more time for butterflies – it was showtime!  We had a big and enthusiastic crowd.  They enjoyed the artwork and very much enjoyed the readings.  We were also honored to have our own Jeff Flodin and Mani Iyer there for the reading.  We even had music playing that was all recorded by well-known blind musicians.  We had sighted and unsighted guests.  Everyone mingled and we gave sighted guide descriptions of the art to anyone who was interested in hearing about the artwork.

As artists, we are, of course, very happy to have a venue to share our art with others.  But above and beyond that, the intent of this art show was to communicate to others that as people with a  visual “disability,” we do not let that stop us from being creative.  We refuse to let our impairments limit us and in fact, it is our need to create that gives us strength.  We are able and willing to share in the beauty of life and interpret that through our art.  Our opening reception proved to be a beautiful night and who knows what’s to come.  The sky is the limit!

Creative Person of the Week

27 Apr

Angela Geis (1966-present).   Angela Geis was born in Ohio and now lives in Chicago, IL.  She has been legally blind in both eyes since birth.  Over the years, she has developed many other eye conditions.  Currently, she has lost all vision in her right eye, and only has limited vision remaining in her left.

She first got interested in photography in college while pursuing her degree in psychology, looking at the effects of visual impairment on artistic style.  For Angela, photography became a way to extend her vision beyond her impairment.  She is able to compose a picture, set the exposure, and let the camera’s auto-focus capture details that she can’t see.  Only when she gets the photos processed and enlarged on her computer screen does she get to see the world that’s normally blurred.

As a photographer, Angela feels that black-and-white has more depth, history and emotion.  She uses very little digital editing and she prefers using film.  For her, photography is about capturing the world as it is, and digitally changing things to create an artificial image lessens the impact.  Angela is one of the 3 visually impaired artists participating in the Visions In The Dark Art Show on May 5, 2012, in Chicago.  Angela’s website is http://home.covad.net/~dmgeis/Haunted_Visions/Welcome.html

I Am Who I Am

24 Apr

by Stella De Genova

If you have followed this blog or read a little about me in the Statement of the blog, you know that my creativity lies in my artwork more than my writing.  I present myself as the visually impaired artist that I am – in my website and even in the Visions In The Dark Art Show I am in, which is art exhibited by 3 visually impaired artists.

Through trying to build a career in art and marketing myself, I’ve wrestled with the presentation of me as a visually impaired artist.  Am I exploiting myself or my blindness?  Or will fellow blind people feel that way about me?  I think about that a lot and I am content to say that after years of denial about my vision, or lack of, I am who I am and this is part of what makes me who I am.  Rather than an attention getter, I share my blindness to help others understand that if we don’t limit ourselves or let others set limits on us, we can follow our dreams and be proud of our accomplishments.  Being honest about myself also opens the conversation about my process of creating art and what it means for me.  Most importantly, I hope when people learn about me and see my art, they understand the bigger picture: for all of our personal differences, it is our strengths, not our personal challenges that make us shine.