Monday, 17 February 2014

Interview with Daily Mail Online

I did an interview with the national press on Friday morning and had photographs taken the next day, which was picked up by the Daily Mail Online this afternoon. I cannot believe that such a huge newspaper wanted my story on their website! I'm really pleased with how it all turned out, just like with the Salford Advertiser / MEN article! Both articles have really reassured me, and the response has been so positive!

Below are the photographs that were taken over the weekend, and I have copied the article below for you to read.

Photographs © Mercury Press & Media Ltd.

Blind Student Named 'Young Illustrator of the Year' by RNIB: Refuses To Let Disability Stand in Way of Art Career

 Kimberley Burrows has virtually no sight
yet creates amazing illustrations
 The 25-year-old is blind in one eye and can only
focus for a few minutes at a time with the other
 Her pieces take a month to finish as she
can only work for 20 minutes at a time
 She has been awarded Illustrator of the
Year by RNIB's Insight Magazine

These stunning pieces of art will never be seen by their creator properly, as she is unable to see in one eye. Kimberley Burrows, 25, from Salford, Greater Manchester is completely blind in one eye and can only focus for a few minutes at a time in her other. In spite of her disability she is establishing herself in the art world, with the RNIB's Insight Magazine recently naming her Young Illustrator of the Year for 2014.

The 25-year-old has refused to let her sight problems stand in the way of a possible career in illustration. While her disability poses difficulties in a job that demands such attention to detail, Kimberley insists that it has only made her more determined to succeed. Kimberley said: 'I have loved art for as long as I can remember. I might struggle to do a still life, but I draw from what I see in my mind.'

Kimberley even said that she hopes her passion for drawing could lead to a possible job. 'I know it's not the obvious career choice for someone who is blind, but I've got the willpower to tackle in any obstacles. It is my ultimate dream to become an illustrator for children's books. When I was younger I always enjoyed the large print illustrations by Quentin Blake in the Roald Dahl books, although Paddington Bear was probably my favourite - and still is.'

Kimberley dreams of one day being a children's book illustrator; her Paddington drawing, left, and another piece featuring herself, right.

Due to the strain that drawing places on her eyes she can only work on her pieces for around 20 minutes at a time, which means her illustrations can take up to one month to finish. She says: 'I don't find it too frustrating as it's what I'm used to and I know at the end of the month it will be done. If I set myself a goal I know I'm going to achieve it and that keeps me going.'

Kimberley is also studying Braille and hopes to get her own guide dog, as depicted in this drawing.

Kimberley's dream of turning her passion into a career may soon be realised - she has already been commissioned to create a special drawing of Paddington Bear for creator, Michael Bond. Despite her illustrations taking up the bulk of her day, Kimberley also finds time to study Braille alongside arts and crafts at Henshaws Society for Blind People, as well as cane training with the Salford Sensory Team and is working towards getting her own guide dog. Kimberley said: 'Once I finish my training, what I'd really like to do is study fine art at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford.'

Kimberley can only work on a piece for 20 minutes at a time due to the strain it places on her eyes.

'I also want to continue campaigning with the RNIB to make things better for young blind people. I've been to the Houses of Parliament with them and we also set up a young person's campaigning network called Envision.' 

Kimberley added that she is impressed with what technology has allowed people with sight problems to do but believes more work is still needed. 'When I was at school we didn't have computers, so one of my friends would have to read what was on the blackboard to me. Things are much better now with the technology we have but there's still more than can be done. Even with the obstacles I faced, art was always something I loved at school. I know illustrating is not the obvious choice for someone with sight problems and I will need to work hard. But I am very determined and I refuse to let anything be a barrier to achieving my goals.'

A spokesman for the RNIB said: 'Kimberley is an inspiration and her work has rightly earned her a top award. We wish her all the best in her very promising career as an artist.'

The article can be seen on the Daily Mail Online website by clicking on the thumbnail above.