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Mark Mothersbaugh in conversation: on eyesight

After seeing the “Myopia” exhibit — check out our blog entry about it here— we wanted to learn more about the artist, Mark Mothersbaugh. A few of us at Vision Loss Resources were lucky enough to get tickets to a sold-out event at the Minneapolis Institute of Art on Friday, June 24: a conversation with Mothersbaugh and Chuck Statler, known as the “godfather of the music video,” moderated by DJ Jake Rudh. Their conversation was energetic and hilarious. Mothersbaugh and Statler discussed the compulsion to create art, their love-hate relationship with their hometown of Akron, Ohio and alma mater Kent State, and the friends they’ve made along the way.

Here’s a quote from a placard in the exhibit that reveals a lot about how vision impairment affected his early life:

I grew up in Akron, Ohio, and I had severe myopia that went undiagnosed until the second grade. My teacher would say things to me like, “Read what it says on the board,” and I’d ask, “What’s a board?” or I’d make a joke because I couldn’t see anything. My teacher disciplined me almost every day.

When my sight issues were finally diagnosed, I was in the car with my dad coming back from getting my first pair of glasses. We came over a hill, and I saw smoke coming out of chimneys. I saw the tops of trees. Before then I had only known the bottom part – the part that I ran into. I saw the sun for the first time, and I just went, “Holy crap!”

I showed up at school with glasses, and I started drawing pictures. My teacher said, “Hey, you draw better than me.” It was the first time a teacher hadn’t either spanked me or put me in a corner. I knew then that I wanted to be an artist.

Mark Mothersbaugh

From the exhibit “Mark Mothersbaugh – Myopia”



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