Have you ever tried to do everyday things with your eyes closed just to see what it would be like to be blind? Do things like trying to get from your front door to the kitchen or try and write out your name all with closed eyes? Tough isn’t it? Well, their is a man named Esref Armagan, a 53 year old artist who lives in Turkey. You could say he and his family are not very well off. That didn’t stand in the way of Esref. Esref is a self taught individual.He started learning to write out certain characters, letters, then was introduced to oil base paints! Finally, he now has a way to express himself on canvas for all to see and appreciate.
As a professional artist and painter, Esref needs complete absolute silence while creating his work. Esref’s work has a unique way of being performed . Using a braille stylus to etch the outline of his drawing,he applies oil paint with his fingers and leaves it to dry fully before applying a new color. This unique method is applied in order so that colors do not mix forming different colors. The art pieces are created without assistance from any individual. He is also able to create paintings that have visual perspective.
Back in 2008 two Doctor/researchers from Harvard were looking for some answers on how Esref’s brain operates. Dr. Amir Amedi and Dr. Alvaro Pasqual-Leone were using Esref as the bases for their studies in neural plasticity and how the “visual” cortex acts differently in blind people opposed to someone with full vision. Pasqual-Leon found that blind people that can read Braille use this very same area of the brain for touch. The doc’s decided to perform a scan on Armagan’s brain while he was painting. The results were amazing, Armagan’s visual cortex lit up like a Christmas tree! This means someone who didn’t know Esref or of his condition looked at the scans wouldn’t know he was a blind man. They performed scans testing his verbal recall activity and very little appeared in the scan. Some unused visual areas may possibly be used in collaboration with the ones needed from their brain. This wasn’t the only study Esref assisted in. Back in 2004, he was involved in a study of human perception, conducted by the psychologist John Kennedy of University of Toronto.
On a personal note, Esref is a married man with two children. He has his artwork displayed in various countries around the world including but not limited to the Netherlands, China , Italy, Turkey, and Czech Republic. Companies around the world have also learned of Armagan’s work. Volvo actually invited Esref to paint their new S60 back in 2009 as part of a social media campaign. If you would like to see him paint, Volvo posted his work on their Facebook page. That painting was auctioned on eBay and went for $3050.00. Not exactly Rembrandt money but went to a great cause. The Canadian non-profit charity organization World Blind Union (WBU) was the benefactor of the money the painting brought. All in all, a very talented man with a great heart who should inspire us all.
All images are taken from his website : www.armagan.com