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 is essentially an artist candy store, a quick résumé reference for club owners, concert halls, art galleries, filmmakers, theaters, cafés, bookstores, publishers and fans of the arts looking for – talent.  

GrabIt is by invitation only

Shéri Vitolo
Painter, expressive realism, sight challenged

Today’s date: July 16, 2009

Recent invitations to submit: SFMOMA Artists Gallery at Fort Mason and San Francisco State Art Alumni Hot Shots.

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Reality note: Shéri’s total vision is 5 percent of normal vision, in one eye only.

What the critics are saying: “While artist Shéri Vitolo has limited physical vision, she sees more than most of us dream with her palette, because she must.” ~ Pacifica Tribune June, 2009

A Bird's Dream

Falls Bloom

Purple Got Lost In The Haze

Artist’s statement:

What I am trying to say with my artwork is that limited vision opens up doors to a new way of looking at everything.  What I see is often so filled with beautiful color that I almost feel lost in it, forever; whereas a normal vision person might walk by.  My work is not abstract expressionism because it is of life. Like the Bay Area Figurative painters of the 1960s and earlier, realism dominates my canvas.

Quick extra facts on Shéri: She has been a photographer as long as she can remember.  Her book “Tunnel Of Hope,” the story of her life’s triumphs and struggles with hereditary retinitis pigmentosa, set to be published 18 years ago, was delayed due to life altering circumstances.  The book is now heading towards publication again with the details of those circumstances revealed.

You can see her in the movies: Shéri played the role of the ‘innocent Greek girl’ in the Sarky Mouradian film “Sons of Sassoun,” which co-starred Lana Wood and Peter Lorre Jr.

Are there other artists in your family?

Yes.  My mother does great, wonderfully wild sketches and still does to this day.  She also sings. My father is a singer in the Frank Sinatra genre.  My sister Roseann Grant is an incredible artist.  She attended Schnard School of Fine Arts.  She also has retinitis pigmentosa.  My sisters Marty, Donna and Roseann are great dancers.  It’s in the genes!  All my sisters have children and to me, this is the greatest art form.

Do you think you were destined to be an artist?

As soon as I awake I look outside at nature’s wonders and even though I have very limited vision, it’s still enough to respond to colors and movements with an adrenaline rush.  And as clichéd as it might sound, I am literally possessed to express what I see through painting.

Dense Forest

Flamboyant Bald Eagle

Sharp Park Before The Trails

What artists inspire you?

I do love the work of Frida Kahlo, Picasso, Marc Chagall, Edgar Degas and Georgia O’Keefe.  I’m additionally inspired by the Impressionists.  But really, it was a jubilation, an awakening within me, that just inspired me to purchase a canvas, a paint brush and from there to blend and mix the colors that I see.

How do you create a painting?

I set up my canvas with a plan in mind but the moment I begin the process something different happens.  This is where the real freedom is and for me, the adventure.

And how does being visually impaired affect your art?

My vision gives me the opportunity to see things in a different light, with a different sense of intensity.  It is perhaps a way for others to view the world.

Blue Rendezvous

Miss Hydranga

Eye Candy

What do you think as an artist you have to offer viewers?

Sometimes when you have something that is a physical impairment, you have really got to rely on your inner strength; the depth within your soul.  To share the impact of color in my life, to reach deep inside of me and put that on a canvas – maybe this will touch others to reach inside as well.

Shéri Vitolo interviewed by Jean Bartlett for GrabIt


Woman Looking Through The Tunnel