This Q&A series focuses on artists contributing to the #ArtisticVisionPgh project cosponsored by Most Wanted Fine Art and Penn Avenue Eyewear. Today’s profile highlight local artist and teacher d.s. kinsel with some especially profound reflection on how the costs associated with eye glasses hurts the community.
Name: d.s. kinsel
How old were you when you first had to wear glasses? I first started rocking the frames when i was very young. I remember wearing glasses to kindergarten and all of my pictures as a small child show me wearing glasses. Having bad vision has always been a part of my existence.
How old were you when you had to pay for the glasses you wear? I remember not having money to pay for glasses or not being able to afford to get them fixed as a child. Paying for glasses has always been something i’ve had to overcome. Even when I had insurance as a child, my insurance would not cover the entire prescription and my parents were also taking care of my siblings. So I’ve always had to pay for glasses. As an adult, the first time I paid was when I acquired insurance as part of my salaried position. Even then, my insurance did not cover the entire costs of the prescription of the type of frames that I wanted. My vision is soooo bad that I had to pay to get the lenses shaved down!
Have you ever had to “fix” your own glasses with tape, string, glue, etc? Yes, I’ve had to fix my own glasses with glue or sum sort of adhesive to keep the lens in. Also, trying to balance the need to see during sports(basketball, football, etc…) and needing to have a pair of glasses has been a challenge. The basketball court has broken its fair share of glasses in my life. I’ve never had rec-specs and always been very active so living with broken glasses was always part of life.
Tell me about a character in literature, film, television or other pop culture who wore glasses and how that resonated with you for good or for bad. steve urkel…every young black dude with glasses is compared to steve urkel. it’s inevitable! i also think of bootsy collins and his crazy glasses.
Describe your relationship with your glasses now. i could not survive without my glasses and am always surprised at how i make art, recognize people, and avoid getting hit by a car without them. In my life i’ve experienced long glasses-less droughts where i just do without due to lack of insurance. Having glasses lets me know im in a good place with the rest of my life. It means that I have some resources at my hands.
There’s a pervasive stigma about wearing glasses for young and old, but an equally pervasive idea that glasses indicate intelligence (or hipness.) Explain that duality. having glasses means that your weakness are on full blast. people know that you have impaired vision of some sort. i think glasses are cool because they are an expression of your personality. an everlasting add-on to who you are that also functions as a tool.
Can you describe how the cost of vision health services has had a negative impact on your life? not being able to afford glasses = not being able to see = not making art to my full capability = not being able to delivery high quality arts experiences to students and community members = sad face
Tell me about your work for this exhibit. swag glasses that somebody will hopefully purchase. i like adding texure to pieces, so the glasses will have intersting paint based texturs added to the frames. the frames will still be fuctioning.
How can readers learn more about your work? google: D.S. Kinsel or Darrell Kinsel also check out Boom Concepts on facebook