Featured Artist

By Steven Erra

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About Steven Erra

Steven Erra is a visual artist, a photographer and painter. He has been legally blind for many years due to Retinitis Pigmentosa. He has a B.F.A. from Parsons School of Design. In 1993 Steven joined  a photography class for the blind and sight-impaired and it was from this group that the Seeing With Photography Collective started in 1997. More recently he joined the Light Painting World Alliance (LPWA). Steven has had work in numerous exhibitions and publications.  (Photograph of Steven Erra by Anton Akimov.)

Artist's Statement

I ask, "What is seeing?"

Arranging and evaluating visual form is central to artists who claim the term "Visual artist." I'm one, being at once very at home with the visual, and also, losing my sight quickly now. Yet over time, I've understood that it's here, where blindness and vision meet, that my work's strengths are most resonate with others. Whether using paint, a camera — or now, words — to explore the connections between light and its abandonment, sight-loss underlies and informs my work. It needn't be very direct. It isn't a monolithic theme. It fades, recedes, or pushes forward differently with each new work.

This road is harrowing, doubt-filled, with scant precedents to guide — as the offered arms of strangers guide.

Senses may die, but amazingly, adaption and compensation subtly expand too. That idea used to be some abstract, diffuse idea. Now it's a vital, clearly-cut truth.

When the retina-ending obstacles of sight impairment do battle with visual art, it's best to view the interaction objectively: best to draw strength from the powerful hands of blindness. It merges, enriches the creative process, sharing the tide with countless other facets and connections that finally are made visually apparent in material form.

With my camera shutter opened, working with light painting, and with other blind or nearly blind artists in our art group — or with other artists in far-flung, darkened rooms all over the world — being nearly blind almost, almost, seems irrelevant then. Alone, bent over a pastel or canvas, guessing at color, flooded with the hot intensity of 100-watt worklamps clamped above my easel, I do it — and that's what matters.

One Comment

  1. Diane Lozito
    Posted January 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Steven,

    Your work continues to grow and excite those of us lucky enough to see it. Thank you for sharing your photos.

    Happy New Year!
    Diane Lozito

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