Are there any colour-blind artists?

I got thinking about this subject after it was brought up in art class. Unfortunately no one really knows for certain if any, now deceased, artists were colour-blind. The suspects are, among others; Constable, Cezanne and Mondrian. Recently deceased artists who are suspected to have been colour-blind include the Australian painter, Clifton Pugh. This suspicion is based on scientific understanding, not the word of the man himself. Colour-blindness is apparent in his family, he also failed the Navy’s colour vision test when he tried to enlist. Interestingly, Charles Meryon, who lived and died in the 1800s is known to have definitely been colour-blind. His self-awareness of his colour-blindness led him to focus on pen etchings (i.e. black and white).

Suspicions about such artists are now finding a firmer scientific basis. Kazunori Asada, a Japanese medical scientist, has been using light technology to assess Van Gogh’s paintings. Using this technology he has been mimicking the sight of people with colour deficiencies, to see how a colour-blind person might see the artist’s paintings. In Van Gogh’s case he found that the ‘colour-blind’ versions of his paintings were possibly even better than the originals, and the man may have possessed a colour deficiency. He has gone on to develop an app called the ‘Chromatic Vision Simulator’, which can replicate the way in which people with colour deficiencies see images. But although many newspapers have taken this to mean that Van Gogh was colour-blind, the scientist maintains that what he is seeing is that Van Gogh had a sensitivity to colour and is not interested in ascribing a particular name to it.

There are also contemporary artists with the affliction. The Jersey artist, Jason Gautier, has red-green colourblindness. But his work is very vibrant with a focus on cartoon and animation styles. There is also an artist named Neil Harbisson, who has a spectacular story. He is completely colour-blind and can only see in black and white (this is known as achromatopsia). He wears something he calls an ‘eyeborg’, this is a camera which hangs over his head, sees the colour in front of him and converts it into sound waves. As well as using this information to enhance the way he sees the world, he also makes ‘sound portraits’ of people. The internet isn’t too clear on this, but I imagine that these must be audio pieces.

[carried over from ‘anyadditionalinformation’ wordpress blog]

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