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Indepth Arts News:

"Allan Eddy: Lost Sight Is Not Lost Vision"
2005-11-18 until 2005-12-31
Mason Murer Fine Art Gallery
Atlanta, GA, USA United States of America

Cerulean blue. Burnt umber. Yellow ochre. Cadmium red. Chromium green. Titanium white. These are the vivid colors on most every artist‚s palette. But imagine not being able to see the colors with which you are painting. For Atlanta artist Allan Eddy, that is a reality. "Total blindness for life, that was the diagnosis from five eye doctors in May of 2000," said Allan. "Now, five years later, I have proved the doctors wrong. I have the return of some of my vision and I have some color distinction. I feel the quality of my art is better than ever."

Allan Eddy, an award wining Atlanta College of Art graduate, winning the Forward Arts Foundation Scholarship in 1987, and hailed as the next Kandinsky, Matta or Miró, paints in abstract form. His art hangs in many collections, including Elton John‚s, and has been seen in numerous galleries. But in May of 2000, Allan thought his career was over.

Diagnosed with meningitis, he spent six weeks at Emory University Hospital fighting the disease. He suffered through numerous tests, including more than 10 spinal taps. After two days in the hospital, Allan went totally blind from meningitis, a disease that normally causes hearing loss when it causes complications.

"When I was lying in that hospital bed, I said if I stayed totally blind, I‚d have to give up painting and become a sculptor. I kept an upbeat attitude, though. After a few weeks, my vision returned just a little. The doctors said that was probably all it would improve because optic nerves do not regenerate. After six weeks, I left the hospital. I was still very weak and my vision was extremely impaired," Allan added.

Over the next three years, Allan's vision improved slightly. He even started to distinguish colors again. He had episodes where he would see sparkles, become nauseous and get a headache. Afterwards, he would notice an improvement in his vision. Today, Allan‚s vision is completely gone in one eye, and he can see out of a very small area in the other.

"When I draw or paint, I cannot see my own fingers. I never thought I could draw again. A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted a tattoo of a dragon, a symbol of strength and wisdom, on my arm. I wanted to design it myself. For two months, I spent every day, more than 12 hours a day, trying to draw a dragon. I did nothing else but work on this dragon. I filled up notebook after notebook with hundreds of drawings of dragons. Unintentionally, I retrained my hand-eye coordination and this was how I learned to draw again," Allan said.

"I can't paint with a brush now because I can't see the brush touch the surface, but drawing the dragons enabled me to relearn to paint using my hands and fingers," he added.

For the past two years, there have been no more improvements in Allan‚s vision. However, he is now comfortable with the loss of his vision to paint passionately and prolifically. "I'm more inspired and determined than ever," concluded Allan. "This impairment has forced me to take the next logical step in my artistic development. My palette is much brighter and my work has even more sculptural elements, which reflect the change in my vision."

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