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New digital technique makes art more accessible

A brightly coloured digital artwork depicting a face n an abstract style.

Having low vision hasn’t stopped My Plan Manager client Alan Brownrigg’s passion for visual art: he has simply invented a new way to create his works.

Alan’s innovative approach has seen him adapt technology usually used in the medical and architectural industries to allow him to create stunning digital artworks.

Alan, who is legally blind, has a 75 inch Phillips touchscreen, and believes he is the only person in the world using this type of device to make art.

The screen is large enough that he can see his work, and it allows the ultimate flexibility in artistic style – Alan can draw using his finger, a paintbrush, or other tools.

Video credit: PassionArt by Alan Brownrigg.

Alan says people feel more free when they create digital art.

“It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake – you can save your artwork at different stages and go back to an earlier one if you want to,” Alan says.

“Having bad eyesight, I just find that big screens are just fantastic. Working on an iPad or phone, I just can’t see what I’m doing. This large screen allows me to move around and get into another dimension.”

At 150kg, the screen is so heavy it needs a specially-designed, height-adjustable trolley stand. Alan estimates the stand, the screen and the computer that runs it cost him $11,000 in total (not paid for by the NDIS) but he says the cost is coming down as the technology becomes more widely adopted.

Alan said that, despite the cost of the equipment, there are savings because there’s no need to buy art materials or find a dedicated space – you don’t need a studio.

“Art materials are so expensive – a canvas the size of my screen costs up to $300, and you can only use it once. This technology has the potential to make art so much more accessible.”

Alan hopes there will be investment in this technology in the disability sector so that other NDIS participants can have access through art classes and art therapy.

“I’d really like to see this technique become available for other visually impaired people, and people with other disabilities, too. I’ve put a lot of time into developing this technology: it’s a really elegant answer for artists.”

To see more of Alan’s work, you can follow PassionArt by Alan Brownrigg on Facebook, or Alan Brownrigg on YouTube.

A brightly-coloured digital painting of a woman's face.
Some of Alan’s recent artwork. Copyright Alan Brownrigg.

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