Artist brings nearly blind man's vision to life

A mural going up in the Crestview neighborhood of Central Austin is stopping traffic. But, what is more interesting than how nice it looks, is the man behind the vision.

Bright-blue sky and striking-red mountains come together to form a western landscape on what was once a dull grey stucco wall. In the middle, stand Austin landmarks with a futuristic twist.

"I was doodling and trying to come up with ideas and I thought what about Emerald City,” said Emily Ullrich.

Emily Ullrich is the artist,but this is not her vision. It came from a man who can only see about 10 percent of it.

Steve Puryear says his vision has been slowly declining for 40 years.

"Just even I imagined it was going to turn into, Emily's been able to take it way beyond that. It's not just a mural on a wall, it's a painting on a very large canvass,” said Puryear.

Puryear recently bought the property in the Crestview neighborhood of Central Austin and thought the wall would be the perfect spot for a mural.

It's already drawing a crowd. Neighbor Debra Tolbert stopped to have a look.

"This is awesome. It's the most special thing in our neighborhood for quite some time,” said Tolbert.

"It's amazing that everybody is enjoying it so much,” said Puryear.

Ullrich used her past experience with a visually impaired client to help Puryear get the best out of her creation.

"I know that generally the higher contrast and the bigger, the easier it is to see,” said Ullrich.

As she paints she finds inspiration from her client.

"I just think it's really cool that in some ways the blind lead the sighted,” said Ullrich. “Steve is sharing this gift with the neighborhood of something visual and large that everyone can enjoy even if he isn't able to fully see all of it himself. That's really great."

The mural is expected to be complete in the next two weeks. Soon the cowboy will have a guitar strapped to his back. He is riding into Austin to chase his dreams.

To contact the artist, click here.

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