Culture

TED Weekends shares the story of a once locked-in grafitti artist

Posted by: Shirin Samimi-Moore

TEMPT-grafittiCompletely paralyzed except for his eyes, graffiti artist Tony “TEMPT” Quan could no longer create his art, let alone communicate with his family. Mick Ebeling: The invention that unlocked a locked-in artist Mick Ebeling: The invention that unlocked a locked-in artist When entrepreneur Mick Ebeling met Quan, he was determined to help the artist accomplish both of these things. Thus, the EyeWriter was born — a pair of glasses with hardware that allows the wearer to draw and communicate … just by using their eyes. Ebeling shared this incredible invention, and the story behind its creation at TEDActive 2011.

This week’s TED Weekends on the Huffington Post explores this talk – taking a look at the EyeWriter as well as the artform Quan loves. Below, find some selected essays to pique your interest.

Mick Ebeling: The Incredible Power of a Single Pair of Glasses

It all started with Date Night. My wife and I received advice long ago that Date Night was the key to a successful marriage. We had plans, but a friend came by and asked if we wanted to go to an art show instead. That was the night I was introduced to Tempt.

When we got to the show there were posters and signs everywhere saying “TemptOne Benefit.” There was a palpable buzz about the place. I kept hearing people talking about this Tempt. Even the art on the walls by incredibly famous artists had his name worked into them. After being there a while and hearing about this Tempt, I finally asked “So where is this guy anyway?” The answer was shocking. “He lives in a hospital. On life support. He’s completely paralyzed. He has ALS.” Since that night, my life has never really been the same. Read the full essay »

Tomes Olesen: Tagging: It’s More Than Just Scrawl

From the outside looking inwards, graffiti must be baffling. It is easy to see why it would inspire abhorrence. Even those with a professed appreciation for the artform will invariably say something along the lines of: “I like it when it’s proper pieces but I hate tagging.”

There’s no denying that at its worst, tagging (writing one’s chosen name on a wall) is little more than territorial pissing, but to understand it is to understand the aesthetic of graffiti in the same way that understanding the International Gothic allows one to understand the aesthetic of the Early Renaissance; it is the root from which everything else develops. Read the full essay »

John M. Eger: The Changing Voice of Graffiti

Artists everywhere have been using street art — some legal, some not — to express themselves for years. These are mostly artists who, in the best tradition want to see change in the world, change in public perceptions or government attitudes and actions. Street art, sometimes called graffiti, is a vehicle for people the world over to express themselves. It is also a vehicle that gives a community a sense of place and an identity.

From the Berlin Wall separating East Germany from West Germany, to the “democracy wall” in Beijing, people have used street art to demonstrate some of their most poignant frustrations and concerns about the world.

Even in Afghanistan, street art, stencil art specifically, has popped up on several walls across Kabul over the past few years. Under the cover of night, artists take to the streets of Kabul. Armed with stencils, spray paint and cameras. Read the full essay »