We had the good fortune of connecting with Desmond Blair and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Desmond, we’d love to hear more about your end-goal, professionally.
When it’s all said and done, I want to be remembered as someone who advanced the conversation about what it means to be “disabled”. I want to challenge that word and use my art as a medium to inspire others to overcome whatever obstacles they may face. For me, the word “disabled” was synonymous with accepting a label that implied “limitation”. I want to defy that, both as an artist and in my professional career. At the end of my life, I hope to leave that same energy with everyone I come across. Now as far as what this means for me as a professional, it ultimately means finding a way to use my art to establish a foundation, endowment for the arts, or a scholarship/ mentoring program that prepares students that are “born with differences” for successful professional careers. The goal is to normalize being born different and create a vehicle or institution that will continue to do so after I am gone.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My journey as an artist actually started because I was trying to figure out how to write so I could start elementary school. Once I figured out how to write, I knew I wanted to learn how to draw. As early as I can remember, I always had a love for animation and animated story telling. Although today, most of my work consists of portraits, I still incorporate some of the fundamental skills I learned from drawing for animation. I think no matter the subject of a portrait, it’s important to capture, emotion or mood by not only thinking about the composition of a painting but the way brush strokes are used. As far as getting to where I am as an artist today, it’s been a journey. I think the hardest part is balancing everything. ( Building a website, booking shows, communicating with people, answering emails, and still finding time to create. ) I’ve learned that relationships are important as well as sharing your knowledge to help others along the way. You also have to be willing to keep learning. To this day, there are countless artists in DFW and other states I am thankful for that continue to inspire me and lead by example. I think no matter how far you go, you have to keep seeking out people that inspire you and that you can learn from. ( Never be afraid to ask questions either.) When it comes to my brand and story, I really just want to create and share things that inspire others. That’s important to me because I have had so many people inspire and encourage me.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I had to show someone around Dallas, I’d probably start with Deep Ellum. That’s because I grew up in the South Dallas/ Pleasant Grove area. Also, Deep Ellum is where I had some of my first art shows. After Deep Ellum, we’d visit the Southside on Lamar, Design District, DMA, Nasher. Dallas is an interesting place right now because it’s growing. So I’d also have to recommend dining in Addison and Frisco as well.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My greatest inspiration came from my family. Although I was born with a limb difference, they never treated me different and my mother, a single mom, always expected excellence. My upbringing was one of my greatest gifts. If I think back on some of the things I learned from my family members, they really helped me with where I am in my life right now. In addition to my family, I have to thank Scottish Rite Hospital and the Summer Arts Program at the South Dallas Cultural Center. Both of these places really helped me early on with learning how to overcome obstacles as well as developing my creativity. In particular, I have to thank Vicki Meek for taking a chance on a kid born without hands that wanted to take formal art classes. I’m forever grateful for her example and mentorship to this day.
Linkedin: Desmond Blair
Facebook: Desmond M. Blair
Youtube: Desmond Blair
Other: IG Portfolio Page: ArtWithoutObstacles