By
Marissa Nasiatka

Our Interview with John Bramblitt

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Image of man with black sunglasses. he has light brown shaggy hair and is wearing a maroon polo shirt unbuttoned. He is standing next to one of his paintings, which is on an easel in his workshop.

John Bramblitt is a visual artist, a song writer, author, and a motivational speaker. He studied at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, where he graduated with honors. John is ranked as the #1 blind painter in the world and is currently the only blind muralist in the world. His works have been sold in over twenty different countries. John has worked with countless charities and non-profits helping them to raise funds in positive, fun and creative ways. He has appeared internationally in print, TV and radio. He has appeared on CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, ABC, and BBC Radio, and he's been featured in The New York Times and Psychology Today.

John only started painting in 2001, when he was 30, after losing his sight to an epilepsy-related condition. He is 'functionally blind'. This means his eyes can only differentiate between light and darkness. John taught himself how to paint using raised lines to help him find his way around the canvas, and through haptic visualization, which enables him to "see" his subjects through touch. using raised lines to help him find his way around the canvas. His work is colorful and bold. John also has painted two large scale murals- one in Brooklyn, New York specifically in the Bushwick neighborhood, which is the world's first mural painted by a blind artist, and one in the Bishop Arts ‘District in Dallas, Texas. John has never seen his wife Jacqui, his son Jack, or his dog Echo, but he has painted incredible portraits of them.

Shouting in the Dark, describes John’s journey navigating through this new territory of blindness, and how he ultimately rekindles his joy, passion, and relationships through art. He is also the subject of the award winning documentary shorts, "Line of Sight' and “Bramblitt.” John’s work has received much recognition including the ‘Most Inspirational Video of 2008′’ from YouTube. In addition, John has received three Presidential Service Awards for his inclusive art workshops for children. He currently works as a consultant for museums in developing programs that are designed to include everyone. John has worked with countless charities and non-profits helping them to raise funds in positive, fun and creative ways. 

In the interview with our Different & Able President and Founder, Alexandra Nicklas, John shares how he acquired his vision loss, how he adjusted to his life with blindness, and how art helps him cope with all the ups and downs in life. John’s ultimate goal is to express himself more everyday, and to help others do the same. According to John, “Many of the most interesting parts of a person are invisible and hidden from view anyway. I think my blindness might be just the lens that is needed to see into that world.”

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