Monday, February 3, 2014

Morning Journal Article

Check out the recent article from The Morning Journal!


The Morning Journal - 2/3/2014

VISUALLY IMPAIRED ARTIST AIMS TO INSPIRE, CHASING HIS DREAM AS A PAINTER.


NORTH OLMSTED — Artist Owen McCafferty listens as teacher JoAnn DePolo offers him advice on skin tone and brush strokes.
He takes in her words, nodding, before placing his face close to the canvas and getting down to business.
McCafferty, 51, is like many artists — creative and determined to express himself through his work. But he differs from most for one noticeable reason — he is visually impaired.
Born with a congenital eye disorder, McCafferty has spent his life unable to see the world clearly. He can’t drive a vehicle, and his vision is so poor it can’t be corrected with eyeglasses.
But McCafferty has always longed to create art. In the 1990s he earned a degree in graphic arts at Cuyahoga Community College, hoping to express himself through that medium.
“Unfortunately life kind of took me away from art and I wound up doing customer service work,” he said.
“There’s nothing wrong with that but I think some felt being an artist was so competitive it would be hard for me to make a living. But I want to go after my desire, my passion for art.”
Today, after longing to paint for a lifetime, McCafferty is chasing his dream. McCafferty decided it was time to paint after learning of blind artists like John Bramblitt, an American painter who took up his craft in 2001 after seizures left him without sight.
“I hooked up with JoAnn through my church in August and she’s been teaching me techniques,” he said. “In the past year I have really delved into my painting.”
DePolo said she’s seen numerous people like McCafferty, who put art off to the side 20 or 30 years ago, only to walk into a gallery and rekindle it years later.
“It’s wonderful to see someone be at a place where arts are appreciated,” she said. “Owen’s uniqueness and his talent are very much encouraged. He’s had this talent all these years and for him to find it is perfect. This is a place to grow.”
Greg McGrath has known McCafferty for nearly four decades. McGrath, 58, worked as McCafferty’s camp counselor in the 1980s and the two developed a lifelong friendship.
“For Owen, his discovery of his talent and pursuit of it, has been a great addition to his quality of life and his outlook,” McGrath said. “Through his art he is able to express and capture some of the emotions of his life experience.”

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