Wednesday, March 27, 2013


One of my classes at RISD was taught by Tom Sgouros. He was legally blind and when we had our crits he got an inch from each piece so that he could see it... or at least what he could potentially see. From some of his comments I wondered if he could see much at all. There was some art that he pointed to saying that he thought was great that I thought was horrible and other art that he didn't like at all that I thought was quite accomplished. When he brought us to his studio there was row after row of almost the same painting. A line for the horizon and colorful clouds floating above. He'd arrange the clouds differently... use more muted colors in some paintings and brighter colors in others, but essentially he was repeating himself. He called them "remembered landscapes.' His old work was very realistic--the art before he lost his eye sight. I really had no appreciation for him at all when I received my grade for the semester: It was a B. I didn't think I deserved a B and wondered if a man who couldn't see the artwork should be teaching (this was coming from the brain of a cocky college kid so please keep this in mind).

Anyhow, Tom has passed away recently and after watching the video below I realized something: His tale is the exact kind of thing that I'd make a picture book about. He had all the perseverance one could possibly muster. He never gave up and he made the most out of a bad situation. He kept painting despite the loss of his sight. One must deeply admire that.

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