Legally blind Toledo painter displays wild-west works at Fuller Art House

Wisniewski’s art will be on display until May first
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:58 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - In a humble, messy garage, a blind man paints.

“That’s the way it is with art,” local artist David Wisniewski said, “If it’s in you, you have to do it.”

The lifelong artist lost his eyesight to diabetic retinopathy in his thirties. He thought his days of painting were over.

“Within a month, my eyesight was gone,” Wisniewski said. “I was somewhat numb and didn’t know how bad it was going to get and how dark it was going to get,” Wisniewski said. “Not knowing the future was devastating.”

He’s legally blind, with only 20 percent vision in each eye.

“I can walk through a store, but I can’t tell you what’s on the shelves,” Wisniewski said.

He couldn’t paint how he used to, but he didn’t give up. He spent more than five years learning a new way to create.

His counselor at the Bureau of Services for the Visually Impaired helped Wisniewski get into the University of Toledo’s Art Program.

“There was no way of telling whether he could succeed in that unless he gave it a shot,” said Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Ron Sosnoski. “He went into the art program, and he did beautifully. You can tell by some of these works of art he’s done.”

Wisniewski says losing his vision ultimately bettered his art. He learned to paint large, so he could see more easily, imbuing an ethereal, intangible quality to his work that reflects his limited view of the world.

“I learned to trick the eye,” Wisniewski said. “To infer that something was an object rather than actually trying to make it that object.”

Since his comeback, Wisniewski has won awards locally and at New York’s Chelsea International Fine Art Competition. His work, which primarily features scenes from the wild west, is currently on display at the Fuller Art Gallery in Sylvania until May first.

“You just have to find a way. You have to keep looking. You can’t just stop looking; you have to keep going,” Wisniewski said. “It’s just like Jurassic Park. Life finds a way.”

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please include the title when you click here to report it.