20/20 Blindsight by Busser Howell

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Brings much-needed focus and unprecedented access to an oft-ignored community.


At the age of fifteen, Busser Howell lost 98 percent of his vision. At the age of forty he lost the remaining 2 percent. Were the story to end there you would likely not be entirely shocked as this type of circumstance is not that uncommon. But this is not the whole story—not by a long shot. You see, Howell is an artist—a painter, to be exact. And prior to being a professional, working artist in New York City he was a partner and worked twenty-four years in an interior design and restoration business. Possibly even more amazing than his breaking of our stereotypes of the blind is the fact that he is not alone. Interviewing other blind artists to discover each person’s particular point of view and what kind of descriptions work for them, author and blind artist Busser Howell’s debut is an extraordinary look into a world never before seen or understood from the point of view of the visually challenged. Beginning by examining the concepts of creativity, perception, touch, and accessibility, Howell engages the vibrant, boundless minds of fifteen visually impaired artists to mine their thoughts, feelings, and understanding to piece together a common thread of experience. It is the artists telling their story, their preferences and dislikes, and their ability, despite their blindness, to tap into sight’s brain-based function to see and comprehend our world and its contents. An enlightening and fascinating journey into the artistic process as seen by those whose vision is either severely impaired or altogether absent, Howell’s impressive collection of writings and interviews is a probing examination of the artistic process and the nature of art itself. Evocative and inspiring, Blindsight is a deeply moving passage that documents the journey of visual artists as they transition from the visual input of the outside world to the output of their inner vision transcending blindness into the light of creativity.

About Busser Howell

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Busser Howell is a professional, working artist living in New York City. His paintings have been exhibited in California, New Mexico, Ohio, Florida, and New York as well as Spain, Italy, and Canada and have had museum exhibitions at the Morgan Museum in Lexington, Kentucky, Museum of the Permian Basin in Texas, the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian. At the age of fifteen Howell lost over 98 percent of his vision and at the age of forty lost the remainder of his sight. Even with his limited sight, however, he was a partner and worked twenty-four years in an interior design and restoration business while continuing to paint and exhibit his ever-evolving works. After getting involved with access programs in New York City, he began to write about himself and other blind and low vision artists in order to get the voice of the blind art community heard.
Published July 1, 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 236 pages
Genres: Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
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on Apr 22 2013

Brings much-needed focus and unprecedented access to an oft-ignored community.

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Rhys McClure 29 Jul 2013

I found this book utterly fascinating. Mr. Howell presents some interesting theories on how blind and low vision artists "see" and create their work. The interviews are very compelling and the imag...

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