“My creativity gives me a sense of continued accomplishment, relevance, validation, and meaningful self-expression despite the challenges that life has brought.”
Cheryl Kinderknecht grew up on the High Plains of midwestern Kansas with a large creative family that nurtured creative self-expression. As a child, she remembers drawing great masterpieces and maps on the sidewalk with small chunks of limestone. Art has always been Cheryl’s first love and she received an undergraduate degree in art. Recognizing how difficult it is to make a living as an artist, she attained graduate degrees in behavioral sciences and spent much of her career working in that field.
While Cheryl was working, she gradually began to lose her peripheral vision due to undiagnosed retinitis pigmentosa. When her degenerative retinal condition was finally diagnosed in her late 40’s, Cheryl was already experiencing severe tunnel vision. This has not deterred Cheryl from continuing to explore her creativity and identity as an artist. “I’ve learned that all of us humans are flawed or outsiders in one way or another.” Cheryl continues, “More importantly, I’ve learned that we can choose to use our imperfections and challenges as catalysts and building blocks to create meaningful lives.”
Living with retinitis pigmentosa has increasingly influenced Cheryl’s artwork. The condition continues to change her perception of color and shape, as well as what tools and techniques she is still able to apply while creating a new piece of art. When asked about her creative process, Cheryl elaborates “My actual vision is a secondary process used in my artwork…I rely more on my ‘mind’s eye’ with its panoramic visual memories and emotional context to drive my work. I like to believe that my limited, fragmented and flickering vision brings an unexpected perspective and intuitive freedom to my creative process.”
Over the years Cheryl’s work has been exhibited in regional and national shows, as well as being included in private collections in the US and abroad. When asked why participation in ArtLifting is meaningful to her, Cheryl explains “It feels like participation with ArtLifting opens another door for me. I’m pleased to be represented by an organization that celebrates and promotes artists who are differently-abled, overlooked or marginalized.”read more
Prints by Cheryl Kinderknecht
ArtLifting empowers artists impacted by homelessness or disabilities through the celebration and sale of their artwork. Learn more here.