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Amazing Deaf Artists (I)

Creativity in art is one of the fields in which Deaf people have stood out most throughout history and in Unusualverse there is a good example of this, both in art and culture and in other areas of creativity such as movies or even dance.

Some Deaf people are very well known but others not so well. Some have professionalized and can live from it, others keep it as a hobby or as a complement to their main work activity. In this article you will find some of these artists that might surprise you but have not yet appeared in Unusualverse.

This is the first part of a series of two articles. The second part will arrive in June.

El artista Erik Jensen arrodillado junto a una de sus obras. Erik lleva camiseta gris con las palabras Sign Wars y pantalón vaquero, Tiene el pelo corto, perilla y un anillo oscuro. La obra es un cuadro hecho de teclas de teclado de ordenador que imitan la obra "La noche estrellada" de Van Gogh
El artista sordo Erik Jensen posa junto a una de sus obras (foto: página Facebook de Erik Jensen)

Erik Jensen: Art with Key of Computer Keyboards

Erik graduated from Utah Valley University with a BS in Art Education in 2017, although he started doing art with computer keyboard keys in 2013. His works can have a minimum of 400 keys, although he usually has at least a thousand pieces, and the more detail he needs, the greater the number of keys, so they can easily reach a diameter of three meters.


The work process is lengthy as he has to start by collecting computer keyboards that he recycles, removing the keys, cleaning and sorting them, dyeing the keys in various colours, making the design, gluing it and framing it firmly due to the weight of the work. In general, completing a work can take two to three months. In the following one-minute video you can see in fast motion a recreation of Mark Zuckerberg but without using glue and without framing him:


You can follow Erik on any of his social media:

El artista Jerry Steffen Jr. está de pie al lado de una de sus obras. Jerry lleva camisa a cuadros, tiene pelo canoso y gafas. La obra es una representación de lo que parece ser una invasión a una ciudad con naves espaciales y extraterrestres
The artist Jerry Steffen Jr. (photo: Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Jerry B. Steffen Jr.: 3D Paper Works

Jerry defines himself as a deaf artist of 3D works with freehand cut paper. Throughout his artistic career he has won several awards, the last one at the age of 62 at the Mountlake Terrace Library, a city in Washington State in the United States.

Although Jerry is now beginning to get some late recognition, his life has not been easy. He was sexually abused by priests, nuns and staff at St. Rita's School in Cincinnati, Ohio, between 1967 and 1972. He studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and majored in lithography, but by then this art began to decline and he had no easy time finding work from it. He made some money selling paintings independently but a neck surgery kept him away for seven years, making it even harder for him to find work: "They know I'm deaf, blind in my right eye, disabled and old. I am no longer able to paint watercolours because of my injured neck".

Jerry Steffen Jr.'s 2018 award-winning work entitled "Protect Salmon All Year Round"

Finally, he felt fulfilled and happy in the technique of cutting paper in 3 dimensions and painting in 3 dimensions, which he says is like a "self art therapy" for him. It takes between one and three months to complete each of his pop art works, he uses recycled cardboard and paper, non-toxic glue and acrylic paints.

Obra premiada en 2019 de Jerry Steffen Jr. titulada "Bus escolar de Mountlake Terrace" (Mountlake Terrace School Bus)

You can follow Jerry on any of his social media:

Edgar Murillo, versatile artist from Barcelona (photo: Edgar Murillo)

Edgar Murillo: Gay Scene Illustrator

Edgar is a versatile young artist who expresses his creativity in photography, film and most particularly in illustration. His account at Instagram Artedgar, dedicated to the illustration of gay scenes, has more than 35 thousand followers and every illustration he publishes gets thousands of likes.

He studied Art at the School of Art La Palma (Madrid) and finished it at the Escola Massana (Barcelona). He worked as a book layout artist in Madrid and as a teacher of Drawing and Graphic Design in some civic centres in Barcelona. He has won several prizes, both for his illustrations and for his short films in sign language, and has even signed the cover illustrations of gay comics.

Gay comic book cover illustrations by Edgar Murillo

You can follow Jerry on any of his social media:

Charles Bank, pintor hiperrealista y fotorrealista (foto: Amanda Festa / longisland.com)

Charles Wildbank: Hyperrealism and Photorealism

Hyperrealism is a genre of painting that works with a similar realism to photography and photorealism is a variant of hyperrealism that is based on making a painting from a photograph. Charles Wildbank dominates both forms of pictorial expression.

Charles was born deaf on Long Island, the famous 190 km length island in New York. He studied art at the Pratt Institute and at Yale University and his beginnings were not easy to sell his art, as he could not talk on the phone, although fortunately in recent years technologies are facilitating communication with his collectors. He usually paints people he knows or admires, but one of his most common themes is the sea because he grew up on the coast.

Charles Wildbank painting one of his photo-realistic works (photo: Charles Wildbank website)

To get the degree of realism in his paintings, Charles says that it takes a lot of practice and eye training upon the subtleties and shifts of shading and hues for even more realism. His largest painting was a commission that reached five meters in height.


You can follow Charles on any of his social media:


Andrew Clemens, artist known for his art with bottled sand


Andrew Clemens: Art with Sand Bottle

Imagine composing artwork by pouring grains of colored sand into a bottle and not using glue. This is what Andrew Clemens, a deaf artist who lived between 1857 and 1894, did. He began making his sand bottles as a teenager and exhibited his first works at the age of 17.

He initially made his compositions by collecting naturally colored grains of sand from an area of Pikes Peak State Park, where it is naturally colored by iron and mineral dyes. He sorted the sand by color and put it into glass pharmaceutical bottles without using glue, so that the pressure of the closed bottle kept the work intact. Some of his works could take up to a year of work to complete.

In the following video you can see some of his incredible works (Spanish subtitles):




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