Imagine going through your life with vision then suddenly losing it. Imagine that having sight wasn’t just a part of being able to function every day, but that it was your passion.
This was very much a reality for John Bramblitt, although in a certain sense it was a blessing in disguise.
“The idea of color means more to me now than it did when I was sighted. Now it has more emotion,” John told the Huffington Post.
His loss of vision began as a teenager due to epilepsy and a bout of Lyme disease that doctors didn’t catch for a full three years.
Although he didn’t choose art as a profession — instead he has degrees in creative writing and disability studies — he always enjoyed it.
However, it wasn’t until he went completely blind in his late-20s that painting, something he had never done before, helped him cope and sparked his successful career as an artist.
John is so gifted he can paint people he has never seen before, like his wife and son.
See his incredible story below and SHARE if it inspired you!
This is John Bramblitt. In 2001, John completely lost his eyesight due to epilepsy and Lyme disease. John is blind and he is a painter.
John has never seen his wife Jacqui, but he painted this incredible portrait of her.
John has never seen his son Jack, but he painted this beautiful portrait of him.
John painted this portrait of his guide dog Echo, who he has also never seen. I guess you're wondering how John is able to create so much beauty without ever seeing it. This is his story.
When John first went blind he fell into a deep and dark depression. It was painting that saved him. "I thought, ‘If I can get myself across the street, I can get myself across the canvas.’ It changed my entire perspective on life," Bramblitt said.
Though John drew his whole life, he never painted. Ironically, he feared he wouldn't be any good at it. His blindness is what began his career as an artist.
"It forced me to live brushstroke to brushstroke. Always thinking about paint on the end of that brush, not the future," he said.
John uses textured and oil paints, of which he says he can tell each color's subtle differences by touching them. "Because oil paints are made from different substances they have a viscosity and texture that varies slightly from color to color."
He is able to paint portraits of the people he meets by touching their faces. Focusing on each area, piece by piece. He even painted a portrait of pro skater Tony Hawk, though he's never even seen him!
"I was able to feel his face moments after his birth and laid upon his mother’s stomach. I felt as he took his very first breaths. I very well may have been the first blind man in history to have this experience because of the touch to site techniques," he said of his son's birth.
John can also paint from memory. " I loved Charlie when I was a kid, but after losing my eyesight I thought I had lost him forever — silent films don't have the same appeal for me now for some reason, lol. Thanks to art I get to experience him again through my painting — life is just quirky and wonderful that way," he wrote on Facebook.
See more about John Bramblitt's technique in the video below!