TUMBLR

A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...



Artists with physical shortcomings that led to their signature work

Jul 31, 2010
Permalink

Artists with physical shortcomings that led to their signature work

I’m fascinated by the idea that a physical shortcoming or faulty biology is yet another constraint that can lead artists to produce better work. A few examples:

  • Art Spiegelman has amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” which flattens depth perception. He says he suspects it’s one of the reasons he’s a cartoonist—because the world looks flat to him
  • The guitarist Django Reinhardt lost the use of 2 of his fretting fingers, and played all of his solos with two fingers
  • Tommy Iommi, guitar player for Black Sabbath, after he lost fingertips in an industrial accident, was inspired by Django, and formed homemade prosthetics, and detuned his guitars down to C#, so there was less tension on the strings. This detuning is part of what makes Sabbath’s guitars sound so heavy, and thus we have heavy metal
  • Henri Matisse’s failing eyesight and health led him to make his “cut-out” paper collages

Can you think of other artists whose physical shortcomings or disabilities led to their signature work?

44 notes

  1. bandofyouths reblogged this from austinkleon
  2. shabazmataz answered: The Drummer for Def Leppard!
  3. electricpencils answered: The guy who is producing our album was born with a thumb and nubs for fingers on his left hand, so he learned to play guitar upside down.
  4. dessasconundrum reblogged this from burningfp
  5. missspite reblogged this from burningfp
  6. solipsiae reblogged this from burningfp
  7. burningfp reblogged this from austinkleon
  8. alivewithlove said: It’s not physical, but it is great.
  9. paucisverbis reblogged this from austinkleon
  10. keiren-smith reblogged this from austinkleon
  11. austinkleon posted this
Subscribe to my newsletter and get new art, writing, and interesting links delivered to your inbox every week.