David Kontra — Blind Painter

David Kontra  |  1956-  |  Norwood, MO

Paintings and music  

I have heard a lot about David Kontra, the blind painter near Springfield, MO and drove a very foggy back roads route, replete with Amish horse and buggies moving surreally in and out of the mist.  Once I arrived at his home, I lost all track of time and place, and fell into the spell of discovering an artist with a vision, despite his lack of one in the traditional sense.  His artwork has the sense of movement, perspective, and juxtaposition of people, buildings, and windows, making it filled with expressionistic energy and angst.

When David was 9 years old, he began to notice that there was something wrong with his eyes.  After years of visiting specialists, it was diagnosed to be Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease that will only worsen over time.  Today, he has less than 5% vision in his good eye.  In order to keep track of what he just painted, each night, David studies his current work, with his face mere inches from the canvas, memorizing all of the details, so he can resume in the morning.  He believes that his ability to memorize has been heightened as a compensation mechanism.

With the aid of a special book reader and a voice reader on his computer, David is now able to study other artist’s work and compose original music, as well as promote his art online.

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