Blind Meriden middle school student creates art through texture

Blind Meriden middle school student creates art through texture

MERIDEN — José Nieves Roman, a sixth-grader at Lincoln Middle School, ran his fingers over a picture of a lion made from yarn Tuesday to experience his latest work of art. 

Roman, who is blind, said he was grateful that his teachers helped him to create the 4-foot mixed media project, which took him nearly three months to complete. 

“I felt sort of an excited kind of feeling,” Roman said. “I couldn’t do it all myself … It would take even longer.”

Justin Piccirillo, Roman’s art teacher, said Roman welcomed the challenge to create the project earlier in the school year. Roman began creating art in the second grade and is eager to continue with the help of his teachers.

“I started small, then I got to this,” Roman said, pointing toward his project. “At first I was confused … now when I look at it, I know what we did. We made a masterpiece.”

Roman said he is learning about other blind artists in addition to artistic techniques. He used yarn that consisted of different textures, allowing him to distinguish color, to create the project.

“I thought, why not stick to the lion because it was going to be easier,” Roman said. “It took more time than I expected it to.”

Piccirillo said the project began with the outline of the lion on a 4-foot piece of plywood. He said he lined the space around the lion with sandpaper, and later tissue paper, so Roman could feel the outline with his fingers.

Roman described the pieces of yarn around the mane of the lion as flat and smooth, while the texture of the lion’s feet was curled and thicker.

Roman’s next project will be a painting. Piccirillo said when thinking of ways to accommodate Roman, he came up with the idea to create different paint textures for each color. Piccirillo said he hopes to accomplish this by diluting the paint.

“With the viscosity of the paint, I’ll make some colors thicker or thinner and he’ll be able to paint,” Piccirillo said. “He’ll be able to feel the texture of the paint. He’ll be able to know what the color is and what’s coming next.”
Twitter: @JenieceRoman


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