North Texas Daily

Blind artist’s painting soars to new heights

Blind artist’s painting soars to new heights

Josh Bramblitt, a local blind artist and former UNT student, surrounded by a few of his most iconic pieces. Photo credit: Facebook.

Blind artist’s painting soars to new heights
August 30
11:04 2017

Denton artist John Bramblitt touches the paint before his brush touches the canvas.

Through this process, he creates detailed art that bursts with color, emotion and complexity. It’s why viewers are always shocked when they realize that he is, in fact, blind.

Originally from El Paso, Texas and an UNT alumnus, Bramblitt has been painting for years after he lost his sight due to complications with his epilepsy.

Bramblitt was diagnosed with epilepsy at 2 years old and later on contracted Lyme’s disease in his teens. His epilepsy and the disease, combined with their respective treatments, caused him to experience seizures that became increasingly severe and life threatening. His breathing would stop and so would his heart.

The constant lack of oxygen caused permanent damage to his optic nerve and occipital lobe, which processes visual information. And by his next fall semester at UNT, Bramblitt was legally blind.

“I felt alone and very isolated, even though I had a great support group around me,” Bramblitt said. “I was epileptic, and then now blind as well. I just didn’t see a way for me to move forward in any meaningful way.”

With the aid of the Office of Disabilities, Bramblitt learned how to travel independently with a cane and use his hands as a new set of eyes.

“Once I could travel again on my own it occurred to me that I might be able to navigate my way across a canvas using the same techniquesusing touch to find my way,” Bramblitt said. “Art came back into my life in a big way.”

After gaining more confidence, Bramblitt consumed himself with art.

He painted 14 or more hours a day, sharpening his ability to feel colors and textures. He started drawing lines that could be felt and brailled his paints.

“I can mix white so that it is thick like toothpaste and black so that it is runny like oil,” Bramblitt said. “The two colors feel very different, and if I want a grey that is halfway between the two I can just mix them together until the texture is midway. When that happens, I know the color is too. It gives me a way of controlling color through touch alone.”

The idea of actually selling his art was the furthest thing from his mind. But by time he graduated, he had had nearly 80 shows and his work shown in over 20 countries.

Instead of sputtering to a stop, Bramblitt was gaining traction.

“I was having the time of my life, but I expected it to end at any time, and then I would go back to school and go back to my real life,” Bramblitt said. “Instead of that happening, I just got busier and busier until one day it finally occurred to me that maybe I could keep doing what I loved every day as a career.”

But after pursuing his art, he’s garnered widespread recognition that’s earned him three Presidential service awards, workshops with The Metropolitan and the Guggenheim and the Most Inspirational Video of 2008 on YouTube.

Recently, he’s added another accomplishment to the list.

Overview of an aircraft displaying the original artwork of local blind-artist, Josh Bramblitt. Courtesy | Michel Teo Sin

Bramblitt’s new artwork was chosen to be displayed on an airplane hosted by Rock in Rio, Brazil’s renowned music festival and one of the largest in the world. With crowds that boast millions, Rock in Rio has hosted artists like Queen, Rihanna, Guns N’ Roses and Shakira.

“As an artist you dream your art and hope it takes flight, but in this case it happened literally,” Bramblitt said. “We did a lot of photo ops with people after the plane landed, and it was great to be there to experience the joy everyone felt in actually flying in a piece of artwork.”

The plane was used to promote the event through a partnership including Gol Airlines, Delta, Air France and Spotify. A vibrant crowd below cheers across the plane while a rock star in a jet blue jacket grinds on his guitar across the plane’s rudder.

“As a person with disabilities, I’m humbled that this gives me a stage to be able to tell people that are facing struggles in their lives that they aren’t alone,” Bramblitt said. “That you are part of a bigger community, and that there are people out there that care.”

It can be surprising to any first-timers that it was painted by an artist who is blind.

“[Within] the first hours, we realized that he is a super-man because he may be blind, but he sees everything,” said Michel Téo Sin, a Rock in Rio photographer. “He has a normal life and even in some moments he has more perception about the space he is than us. It’s really extraordinary and amazing to see him painting.”

Bramblitt has commissioned countless works, but the plane is Bramblitt’s biggest display yet.

“It’s just awesome to see his work on that scale because the colors really pop,” Bramblitt’s wife Jacqi Serie said. “It’s the biggest representation that he’s ever had of his artwork so far.”

As years passed, even Bramblitt’s health began to improve as he got his epilepsy under control. And now, Bramblitt said he’s made it a point to include charities or a positive message in tandem with his work.

“A project like this plane and working with Delta, Air France, KLM, GOL Airlines and Rock in Rio excites me because I know that it is going to lead to a lot more work with some incredible charities; which means that I am going to be very happy,” Bramblitt said.

Despite his long journey to this point, Bramblitt says there is much more to come.

“It has been an incredible journey that has taken me completely by surprise, but I have to say that everything is just getting started,” Bramblitt said.

Check out Bramblitt’s promo with GOL Airlines:

Featured Image: Josh Bramblitt, a local blind artist and former UNT student, surrounded by a few of his most iconic pieces. Facebook


John Bramblitt é um pintor com deficiência visual que tem o dom da sinestesia. GOL, Delta, Air France, KLM Brasil e vocês vão ajudá-lo a criar uma obra em homenagem ao maior festival de música do mundo! Acesse e envie sua playlist. #MUSICOLORS #NOVAGOL #EuVooProMundo #WeRockYourWorld

Posted by GOL Linhas Aéreas on Monday, July 24, 2017

About Author

Amy Roh

Amy Roh

Related Articles


No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

The Roundup

<script id="mcjs">!function(c,h,i,m,p){m=c.createElement(h),p=c.getElementsByTagName(h)[0],m.async=1,m.src=i,p.parentNode.insertBefore(m,p)}(document,"script","");</script>

Search Bar

Sidebar Thumbnails Ad

Twitter Feed

North Texas Daily @ntdaily
SPORTS: QB Austin Aune to declare for NFL draft after Frisco Bowl📝: @justanotherijc 📸: @JohnAndersontxRead more:
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
@kellytran28: hey #unt students! i am doing a story about the new einstein bros bagels opening on campus for @ntdaily. if you have been and would like to share your thoughts, please dm me!
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
BREAKING: University fires head football coach Seth Littrell📝: @jillian_ntdRead more:
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
NEWS: TWU creates zero tuition program for low-income students📝: John EberhartRead more:
h J R
North Texas Daily @ntdaily
ICYMI: Men's basketball wins 4 of last 5 games, non-conference slate continues📝: @jillian_ntd 📸: Marco BarreraRead more:
h J R

Sidebar Bottom Block Ad

Flytedesk Ad