Strolling the Biltmore, a painting by Jeff Hanson
© Jeff Hanson Ar
A visionary artist. A visionary artist with a vibrant outlook
These colourful flowers were painted by an artist who has been visually impaired since he was a boy, after a brain tumour damaged his optic nerve. Today, Jeff Hanson is a successful artist who only vaguely sees shapes and colours. Although legally blind, he's developed a unique process that helps him feel his compositions by first plastering the canvas with a thick plastic substance. Once that hardens, he uses the ridges to navigate a piece, before adding his signature vibrant colour. He sells his art to fans like Warren Buffett, Elton John and other collectors.
Yet, one of the most creative aspects of Hanson's life is the way he's developed assistive methods to paint. The methods Hanson uses are not unlike the wheelchairs, head pointers, closed captions, voice trackers and a growing number of assistive technologies that empower other people with disabilities. On Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we're featuring Hanson's painting to observe work to make technology accessible for more people around the world.