John Bramblitt is an artist living in Denton Texas, his art has been sold in over twenty countries and 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, as well as supplied the art for many magazine covers. He’s the subject of the arard winning documentary shorts “Bramblitt”, and “Line of Sight.” His work has received much recognition including the ‘Most Inspirational Video of 2008′ from YouTube, three Presidential Service Awards for his innovative art workshops, numerous mayoral and governor’s awards, as well as the Chrostopher Reeves Arts award for art . And John is blind. Mr. Bramblitt is also the author of the award winning book, Shouting in the Dark , and is the current selectee for the Texas Governor’s Disability Employment Awareness poster. He currently works as a consultant for museums in developing programs that are designed to include everyone – no matter their ability or disability. Shouting in the Dark is the story of Bramblitt’s life, his journey navigating through this new territory of blindness, and how he ultimately rekindles his joy, passion, and relationships through art. Prior to his blindness, John studied at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, where he majored in and received in B. A. degree in English. When Bramblitt lost the last of his vision 13 years ago due to complications with epilepsy, his hopes of becoming a creative writing teacher were shattered and he sunk into a deep depression. He felt disconnected from family and friends, alienated and alone. But then something amazing happened– he discovered painting. He learned to distinguish between different colored paints by feeling their textures with his fingers. He taught himself how to paint using raised lines to help him find his way around the canvas, and through something called haptic visualization, which enables him to “see” his subjects through touch. He now paints amazingly lifelike portraits of people he’s never seen–including his wife and son.
While art was always a major part of John’s life it was not until he lost his sight in 2001 that he began to paint, and it was then that he says, “Art reshaped my life.” John’s paintings are intensely personal, and are mostly taken from real people and events in his life. John’s workshops are unique in the art world in that they not only span the gap between beginning and professional artists, but also include adaptive techniques for people with disabilities. According to John, “Everyone has an artist somewhere in them; sometimes they just need a little help letting it out.”
Echo, John’s guide dog, has just been placed into the Texas Animal Hall of Fame for her incredible achievements. Always with John she has domenstrated just how an amazing an impact a service dog can have to thousands of children and adults. By John’s side Echo has traveled on around 200 plane trips all over the United States and beyond; always guiding John wherever he needs to be, and ready to go at a moment’s notice. As John says, “She makes the traveling I do not only possible, but enjoyable – no matter where I go, from the subways of New York to the museums in Dallas to the beaches in Sand Diego, I always have a best friend right beside me.”