Tactile Art Helps a Visually Impaired Man Feel His Portrait

Michele Debczak

When artist Andrew Myers first started making his distinctive screw paintings, they weren't intended for a blind audience. It wasn't until he saw a blind man explore one of his creations through touch that he realized how important tactile artwork can be, especially in a culture where getting up-close-and-personal with art is often forbidden.

As Myers explains in the short documentary Please Touch the Art, that experience stuck with him for years. As Visual News reports, Myers's mission to recreate the moment led him to George Wurtzel, a blind woodworker who works at a camp for the visually impaired in Napa, California. Wurtzel is someone who deeply understands the importance of having access to art you can feel. The subject is so close to him that he decided to convert an old grape crushing barn into a center devoted to tactile art.

For the studio's first piece, Myers surprised Wurtzel with a portrait of himself that he could experience through touch. "I want to give George the first portrait of himself that he can actually feel, that he can actually recognize," Myers says in the film. You can watch the full documentary from Cantor Fine Art above.

[h/t Visual News]

All images courtesy of Vimeo.