Please Touch The Art: Tactile Portraits For The Blind

In a world where creativity knows no bounds, expressing thoughts and emotions through art becomes not only a way to connect with others, but also opens up avenues that allow interesting ways to reach out to newer audiences.

In order to connect with blind people, artist Andrew Myers, who used to make bronze sculptures, started making “screw painitngs” when he saw a blind person run his hands over his sculpture once to understand what is was. That experience made him think of coming up with a new medium to connect with blind people through his art, and he started creating portraits with screws. He starts the process by drawing the portrait on plywood, drilling some holes throughout the portrait that he uses as a roadmap, and finally inserting thousands of screws at varying lengths to give the portrait natural contours of the human face or other objects – whatever he is depicting in that particular screw painting. Once all the screws are in, he paints each individual screw head in various colors to make the portrait look like the original portrait or objects. The finished product is a painting that can be viewed by sighted people from a distance as well as experienced by blind people through tactile feedback.

Andrew Myers sometimes works on up to five screw paintings at a time, with each painting taking him two to three months. Shortly after creating a documentary “Please Touch This Art” with blind woodworker and craftsman George Wurtzel, Myers has been making custom orders that he gets from as far as Turkey.

Watch the documentary below to see Andrew Myers’ amazing work, and don’t forget to see the image gallery right below it to see his some of his other work.

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"Fading Thoughts" by Andrew Myers

"Fading Thoughts" by Andrew Myers - a table fan is shown blowing parts of a man's face off.
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"It's Been A Long Day" By Andrew Myers

"It's Been A Long Day" By Andrew Myers - shows a shirt on a hanger hanging from a wall.
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"Things Are Not Always What They Seem" by Andrew Myers

"Things Are Not Always What They Seem" by Andrew Myers - a flashlight throwing light at a hand signal formed in the shape of a "V". The shadow of that hand signal on the wall looks like that of a ferocious animal with its two teeth pointing out.
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"I'm Letting Go" by Andrew Myers

"I'm Letting Go" by Andrew Myers - one hand holding a string that is tied to a balloon. Another hand is pricking the balloon with a needle.

 

Source: Smithsonian

Andrew Myers’ Website

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