Double Tap That | Pete Eckert

In the world we live in, ‘creativity’ seems so inherently bound to visual perception that the two appear entirely mutually inclusive. To ‘create’ something, you have to be able to see it, and for others to see it – that is art, right?

Well, artist Pete Eckert is drop-kicking the foundations out of that pre-conception. Considered profoundly blind, with no vision at all other than light flickers and crackles, Eckert has harnessed his other senses to create art that explores the depth of our perception as human beings.

While preparing to study his masters in architecture at Yale, Pete was suddenly and brutally diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa – an incurable illness that gradually thieves the sight from those that suffer with it. Quickly. Permanently. Irreversibly. As a creative, visual person – this news was devastating.  

Discovering a new feeling of vulnerability, his two biggest fears become earning money and protecting himself. In short order, he moved closer to home for support and earned his MBA and a black belt in martial arts. Sight or no sight, he’d always see someone coming now. It’s this pragmatic determination to find – or else manufacture – a solution to his problems that allowed Pete to find brand new abilities within his disability.

By the time Pete had finished his degree, his vision had almost completely gone. Despite his kick-ass grades and rock solid work ethic, finding a job was increasingly difficult. He returned to carpentry as his creative medium, the tactility involved - the three-dimensional touch required – allowed him to ‘see’ what he was making. But the process was too slow. He needed something faster, more reactive, more expressive. 

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That’s when he found an old camera buried deep within an old drawer. It belonged to his mother-in-law and had long since forgotten about.

He’d found his new medium.

Far removed from the notion of simply ‘shooting in the dark’, Pete ‘sees’ every shot – only he uses sound, touch and memory to bring his visions to life. His influences come from an entirely unique blend of his past memory and his perception of the world now from his amended point of view.

The results are vibrantly kinetic impressions. Fusions of blasts of light, echoes of colour and sharp crackles of lightening. Shapes and shadows, movement and sound. Pete’s work is not made to simply look at, it is deeply layered explorations into the human consciousness. It’s what we can sense as his audience, rather than what we can merely see. All in all, there’s the constant feel of something more. Something other. And it’s truly beautiful.

As makers, creatives, artists – whatever we prefer to call ourselves – Pete Eckert’s work is a palpable reminder that to really be successful expressions of ourselves, our crafts need to be felt. Not just seen.

The video above is a beautiful exploration into Pete's story and his work, as is a little stroll about his site. 

We heartily recommend both.

- Pete Eckert

Carter Gore