Visual artist John Finn is a recipient of Dash Mentoring project called Cultivate for disabled artists in the West Midlands. His Mentor is David Prytherch PhD, FHEA, HFGE; a glass engraver/sculptor who after physical injury is exploring haptic (touch) interfaces to create multisensory digital art. Finn is profoundly Deaf. He studied filmmaking at the London International Film School. With his passion for story-telling, he studied a Masters in computer animation, pioneering the use of motion capture technology so characters use British Sign Language. He directed, a film for Deaf children called “The Long Knife” won Best Non-Narrative Film in 2007 at Deaf Fest, Deaf-Led Film & Arts Festival. In 2014 his company “Dead Creative” made an award-winning documentary called, “The Big Decisions” about the decisions parent of Deaf children must make.
Finn was also born with a degenerative eye condition, in 2011 he was diagnosed with Optic Atrophy (a condition where the nerve endings within the eyes are dying and leads to permanent sight loss) and colourblindness and was registered blind.John Finn is making drawings, collage, metal etch prints, ink painting and is currently experimenting with glass fusion. His work is vibrant and bold due to his limited vision.
Life and Deaf
Deaf Explorer are supporting Finn to deliver an artists residency at Touch Base Pears, a new community resource in Birmingham, that will enable Finn to engage and appeal to the deaf-blind community he now finds himself a member of.
Over four months he will work at Touch Base Pears. He will create new work on the theme of Life and Deaf. He will be part of Touchbase Pears community engagement programme & meet with parents of children diagnosed with Deafness, visual impairment or Deafblindness to discuss their thoughts and feelings. He will use those experiences to generate a new artwork that explores the mixed emotions of a diagnosis. He will exhibit the artwork to show that life can contain hope and fulfilment as a Deaf and later Deafblind person. He will investigate through digital art, the grieving process that parents feel when their child is given a diagnosis that transforms parents expectations, in this way the artwork will connect with Death and what defines loss. Finn will relate this to his own experience; his profoundly Deaf baby daughter was diagnosed with the same condition that now makes Finn Deafblind. Finn had to make difficult decisions about her future, in preparation for her future sight loss. For Finn to capture a moment emotionally and transform it into visual art he requires assistive technology; that will not only enable Finn to show what he is drawing to visually impaired participants but allow Finn to differentiate between shades of light, dark, line and colour.