Link to David Kontra's site www.davidkontra.com (from site) I shut my eyes in order to see." ...Paul GauguinI am a self taught artist who happens to be legally blind. My condition is called retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that gradually robs people of their eyesight. Currently, I have less than 5 percent vision in my left eye and only light perception remaining in my right eye.
I paint what I see, what I think, and what I feel at the moment, and it’s not always pretty. Through my experiences in life, I have discovered the many prejudices people have towards one another. My creations are true from the heart, and I do my best to represent those of us who need a little additional support from the fascism and ignorance that festers in this world. I paint mirror images of society with the use of my memory, and the muted colors I perceive inside the shadows of my world. I let my art do the talking.
article http://www.kingmandailyminer.com/main.asp?SectionID=13&SubSectionID=18&ArticleID=12812&TM=76473.08 8/5/2007 2:40:00 PM Email this article • Print this article Despite challenges, local artist keeps gift alive Miner Staff WriterDick Bass works on his latest oil painting in his apartment in Sunridge Village outside Bullhead City. The former Kingman resident has sold more than 150 paintings over the past three years. TERRY ORGAN/Miner
BULLHEAD CITY - Dick Bass may not be in the best of health, but neither is he deceased as some people thought when he disappeared from his Lake Havasu home about three years ago.
"I was in the hospital so much I lost touch with a lot of people," Bass said. "I lost half of my left foot, and all but one toe on it, to diabetes. I moved into Sunridge Village three years ago and soon after lost the lower portion of my right leg (to diabetes)."
Bass has been blind in his left eye for the past 30 years and vision is failing in his right eye. He gets around in a wheelchair, yet the infirmities have not slowed down his painting efforts. He said he has sold more than 150 oils in the past three years to support himself.
Kingman resident Nell Miller bought one of Bass' paintings in the 1980s. "It's a little different from his normal works," Miller said. "It's a canyon scene with a river coming down it and the moon shining on part of the canyon."
Miller used to send Bass a Christmas card each year, along with a greeting card for his Feb. 14 birthday. When both came back one year, she assumed he had died.
She found out where he was living about a year ago and was delighted to learn he is still in the area. "He's very gifted," Miller said. "He has great talent, has been around a long time and owned galleries across the country. I even took a few painting lessons from him."
Bass said he used to lay down in front of a radio with movie magazines and try to reproduce photos in them with lead pencils when he was 6.
At 9 years old, he won the $300 first prize in the Northwest Art Festival near Billings, Mt., which is where he was born. "My grammar school art teacher said she was going to enter my painting at the festival," Bass said. "It was a watercolor scene with a Dutch windmill, river and clouds."
Bass earned a Bachelor of Science degree in architectural engineering from the University of Southern California in 1949. He said he was involved in building and contracting projects for the federal government for four to five years thereafter in California.
After he and his wife divorced in the late 1950s, Bass put his focus on art. Picasso and Rembrandt have been two of his influences.
He has owned four art galleries, including Western Arts on Andy Devine Avenue in Kingman for about 10 years before selling it in 1989. Bass was a Kingman resident for about 15 years during the 1970s and '80s.
Working with oil has been his love since high school. He is able to continue working in the medium while changing values in his paintings as he goes along, Bass said.
Bass most enjoys Southwestern art today. However, he also paints renderings of buildings, seascapes and portraits of figures such as mountain men, trappers and gamblers.
article http://www.alamogordonews.com/ci_6547173?source=most_emailed Residents interviewed for documentary on the blind Alamogordo Daily News By Karl Anderson, Staff Writer Alamogordo Daily News Article Launched:08/05/2007 12:00:00 AM MDTLocal residents are among those to be featured in a documentary now being filmed at the New Mexico School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
The film is based on the life of George Mendoza, an athlete, artist, author and film maker who lost 80 percent of his sight at the age of 15. The documentary will also delve into a study of how blind people perceive color.
The film's opening narration states the overall premise: "Since earliest human history the mysterious physics of light ... human eyesight ... and the vision of the human psychic have occupied and baffled philosophers, scientists, and artists. Today we have unraveled many of the mysteries of vision and the psychology of color ... but many remain. This brief story tells of a friend of mine and his strange but wonderful vision."
The film is being narrated by Academy Award-winner Robert Duvall, who also narrated and hosted producer Mendoza's first film. It is directed by Dick Stevens.
Mendoza spoke before the cameras began rolling Saturday about his own discoveries about blind people and their perceptions of color.
"I was inspired to do this film by a 7-year old girl named Debbie who asked me several years ago 'What color is the wind?'" Mendoza said. "I asked her a few years ago if she ever found an answer to her question. She told me is must look like a rainbow."
Debbie's sister, who used to be color blind, is completely blind now."When she was merely color blind, she saw red as black and pink as white," Mendoza said. "She always associated the color red with a fire truck and the color green with grass."
Mendoza said these kinds of concepts are part of what the film is all about."Blind people, like those with sight, dream in color," he said. "They just can't see it with their eyes."
The first person to be interviewed by director Stevens was Josephine Trujillo-Vigil, an Alamogordo resident who has been blind since birth from retinitis.
"Blue is cool," Trujillo-Vigil said. "I don't actually see the colors, but I think about them."
Stevens asked Trujillo-Vigil why she thinks about colors."I like to match my clothes," she said. "I've heard about what colors go together, and I also see colors in my mind when I think about water, or the stars, or when I hear birds singing."
Stevens asked her what she thinks about shapes. "I can see shapes in my mind and touch them with my hands," she said.The second person to be interviewed was Alamogordo resident Manny Garcia, 68, who began losing his sight at the age of seven from deterioration of the optic nerve. In second grade, he moved from Mexico to attend school in Alamogordo.
"I see color when I dream," Garcia said. "Blue was my favorite color, the color of the sky."
Garcia has been a piano tuner for the past 45 years, and said he also sees different colors when he hears music.
"When I am tuning pianos, I see gray, blue, silver, or gold, depending on the key or note," he said.
Garcia said he recalls colors as vividly now as he did before he lost his sight.
"How do you think you would feel if you had never seen color?" Stevens asked Garcia.
"I don't know. I guess I would have to imagine it in my mind. That would be hard," Garcia said.
What amazed Mendez the most about Garcia was that Garcia also associates colors with voices and even personalities.
"I never thought of personality in terms of colors," Mendoza said.Stevens' film credits include "Top Gun" and "Hot Shots." He was the aerial coordinator for "Top Gun" and second unit director for "Hot Shots."
"I am very honored to have Dick Stevens on our team," Mendoza said."What Color is the Wind?" is expected to wrap by February 2008. This will be the fourth documentary for Mendoza.
article From: Today's Zaman, TurkeyBy: ÝSMAÝL YILDIZ Submitted by BlindNews Mailing ListA visually impaired student in the central Anatolian city of Sivas is preparing to open an exhibit of his photographs.
Selman Devecioðlu, who is trying to get his exhibit open in time for Disabled Week (May 10-16), has his photographs currently on display at the Beyazay Association for the Visually Impaired. Fond of taking photographs, Devecioðlu said he needs support for his exhibit, which explores Sivas from the standpoint of the visually impaired.
Devecioðlu, a history student at Sivas Cumhuriyet University, has a love of taking photographs that is exemplary even for those who have no disability. Twenty-one-year-old Devecioðlu, who has been 98 percent blind from birth, is most interested in taking pictures of historic buildings, nature and pictures of people. "I cannot see but I press on the shutter release by feeling it. Later, I receive feedback from my friends about the photographs I take," said Devecioðlu, whose camera is his most valuable possession. While he sometimes gets help from his friends while taking photos, Devecioðlu said he gets positive reactions from those around him. Devecioðlu's love of taking photos started at a very early age, and he received no special training for this.
His biggest dream was to open a photo exhibit. He has taken steps to accomplish this by displaying his photos at the Beyazay Association for the Visually Impaired, of which he is a member.
Asking for help from the Governor's Office and the municipality, Devecioðlu said he needs an exhibition place and nearly YTL 500 to print his photos. He said he takes photographs and shows that disabled people can also achieve what they want.
"I have never heard of a visually impaired person taking photos. I think I will be the first in Turkey," he commented. Devecioðlu said he also writes children's poems and received an award in this field. Beyazay Association Chairman Tuncay Köse said they steer their visually impaired members to fields that require hands-on work such as drawing and sculpture.
In case he finds a sponsor, Devecioðlu will open an exhibition with 50 of his photographs. The exhibit will be open during Disabled Week, May 10-16.
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