Beacon Stories

Apr 26, 2019

Legally Blind Artist Paul Castle Expresses His Story through Art

Paul Castle was diagnosed with X-linked retinitis pigmentosa at the age of 16, but continued to follow his passion for art. Now Paul is a full-time artist and donates 5 percent of his art sales to the Foundation.

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Photo of Paul Castle with examples of his artwork.

TOP LEFT: Artist Paul Castle using his iPad to sketch his artwork. TOP RIGHT AND BOTTOM: Samples of Paul Castle’s artwork.

Seattle resident and artist Paul Castle strives to tell stories with his artwork. His own story about blindness is one that he is eager to share with others.

Paul was diagnosed with X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (RP), shortly after he started driving lessons at the age of 16.

“I had heard of night blindness and that’s what I thought I had,” says Paul. “However, during my driving lessons, it was evident I was also losing peripheral vision and that’s when I sought the advice of an eye doctor. After many tests and referrals, I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa by Dr. Potter in Vancouver, BC.”

After graduating high school, Paul went on to study English Literature in college and painted in his spare time. By the time he graduated college, he was selling his original art and doing commissioned paintings.  Paul then discovered that being an artist could be his full-time career.

“I have always loved to paint and draw, so my diagnosis of RP wasn’t going to stop me from continuing with my passions,” says Paul. “In fact, it only inspired me to create more.”

Very early in his painting career, Paul decided to start donating 5 percent of every art print sale directly to the Foundation in hope to one day find a cure for RP and other retinal degenerative diseases.

“As the leaders in research, and the Foundation that has provided me so much solace since my diagnosis, this became very important to me,” says Paul. “Bringing awareness to the Foundation and rare diseases like RP has brought deeper meaning to my work. My contribution is small in monetary terms, but immense in heart.”

As Paul’s sight has slowly diminished over the years, he has invented new ways of adapting in his art studio. Paul uses bright lights, small brushes, and the camera on his phone to shrink down images that he can not fit into his field of vision. He also uses an iPad for sketching because standard pencil lines are too faint for his eyes to see.

“Technology has helped my art immensely,” says Paul. “As my sight has degenerated, my process has slowed down, but my love of art and creating has only intensified.”

When it comes to navigating day-to-day, Paul uses a white cane, which has given him a new sense of freedom. He also plans to get a guide dog in the coming years.

“No matter what happens, sight or no sight, I will continue to create, tell stories, and bring hope to those who need it.”

To learn more about Paul’s artwork, visit his website at: www.etsy.com/shop/PaulCastleStudio