Esref Armagan was born blind, in a poor family, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a successful artist, with a unique painting style.
As a child and young adult, Esref didn’t receive any kind of education, but he somehow managed to teach himself how to read and paint. For the last thirty-five years he has developed a unique painting technique and is always perfecting it. The Turkish artist needs absolute quiet when he paints, in order to be “inside” his artworks. First he uses a Braille stylus to etch out the outline of his paintings. When he is satisfied with the drawings, be begins applying the colors, using his fingers.
In the beginning, he was forced to apply one color every two or three days, in order to allow them to dry and prevent smearing, but he later discovered acrylic paints, which dry much faster and allow him to paint directly on canvas. Believe it or not, his style of painting is unique in the art world, and allows him to complete his paintings without any help whatsoever.
For his portrait paintings, he asks a sighted person to draw around a photograph. Then, using his fingers, he draws what he feels onto a sheet of paper and later applies colors. He has painted portraits of his country’s president and other high-ranking Turkish officials. Esref Armagan works have been exhibited in galleries across Europe, and he was featured on popular TV channels like the BBC and ZDF.
After seeing his artworks, few are those who believe Esref paints all by himself, or doubt he was actually born blind. Scientists who examined the eccentric Turkish artist have confirmed he is congenitally blind, and were baffled by the ease with which he represents space.
All photos are copyright of Esref Armagan