I was born with perfectly good hearing, grew up, married, had two sons, and was a high-end furniture finisher and woodworker, who specialised in making very expensive pieces of furniture, with various kinds of faux finishes painted on them, wood, marble, stone, inlay, etc., and gold leaf.
I was fairly successful in this business until at age 45, I had a stroke that deafened me, in addition to several other stroke-related deficits. This force the close of my business, in 1994.
I learned sign language, started hanging out with some of the Deaf people who lived in my neighbourhood, and gradually acquired ASL, and a Deaf outlook on life.
During this phase of my life, I went back to work painting, but on a smaller scale, as I was now working out of the basement of my home. Instead of doing large and heavy projects, with a lot of power tools, I set up a couple easels, and began painting on canvas, and watercolour paper. After a while, I began to find buyers for my work, and I was back in business again, with a website, and a small studio/gallery in my home.
My work primarily focuses on the people, places and things around me… I paint what and who, I know best. My work is not as representational as it was in the beginning, though… nowadays, I paint more what I feel, than what I actually see. If a person were to compare a photo of some place I painted, with the painting, they might not recognise the two, as being related.
I use the words ‘Deaf’ and ‘Artist’ very sparingly, when describing myself. I have one foot in the Deaf Reality, and one foot in the Hearing Reality. Am I an ‘Artist??? I can’t know… “What does a fish know, of the water in which it swims?” a very clever fellow once said.
I’m a painter and a sculptor, for sure. whether what I paint and sculpt is art… I will let others decide.