Visual art for the visually impaired: Creating paintings with braille

Vancouver-based artist Gabryel Harrison explores the relationship between braille and art.

Vancouver-based artist Gabryel Harrison explores the relationship between braille and art

(CBC Arts)

"I thought it was visually just beautiful — felt like an abstract pattern of dots on a page."

By incorporating braille into her paintings, Gabryel Harrison explores it as a visual medium and uncovers its similarities to art.

"As a painter, I do sometimes think about what would it be like to not have sight," she explains. "It's hard to imagine that."

Watch the video:

Art Minute: Gabryel Harrison

4 years ago
Duration 1:05
Vancouver-based artist Gabryel Harrison uses her art to explore the relationship between braille and art.

Harrison's paintings reflect her fascination with the translation of text to braille, and she compares it to the interpretation of her art. 

"It's like having a book translated from one language to another. What is retained and what is lost?"

"That's where maybe it becomes even more interesting — is that when I'm making a painting, the more accidents that happen, the more interesting the painting becomes."

It's not a concern for Harrison if her art is interpreted differently than it was intended to be. "I haven't actually worried too much about it," she says. "If it doesn't say exactly what I set out to say, that's okay too."

See more of Harrison's work below:

(Gabryel Harrison)
(Gabryel Harrison)

Art Minute is a CBC Arts series taking you inside the minds of Canadian artists to hear what makes them tick and the ideas behind their work.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?