Bramblitt’s art has been sold in over twenty countries and he’s appeared internationally in print, TV and radio. He’s 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 art for many magazine covers. His work has received 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 Christopher Reeves Arts award. 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. 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, 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.”