Texas Connects Us: Dallas Artist Wins Fans With Determination - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Texas Connects Us: Dallas Artist Wins Fans With Determination

Desmond Blair calls himself "different" not disabled.

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    Desmond Blair paints detailed portraits despite the lack of fully developed hands. (Published Friday, Dec. 4, 2015)

    In Desmond Blair's corner of the world, life is busy. He is the project manager in the IT department at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas. He winds down his day at the hospital's gym.

    And then night falls. His life mirrors one of his favorite movie characters.

    "During the day I'm Bruce Wayne, I'm a project manager. At night, I'm Batman, I'm an artist," Blair said with a smile.

    On this night, Blair worked on a portrait of pop music star Rihanna. He will show the painting at the Artists Against Cancer show December 12 at the Geometric Madi Museum in Dallas.

    His apartment also features his portraits of hip hop artist Andre 3000 and late "Fast and Furious" star Paul Walker.

    "They ask you if you can have ten people at dinner - who it would be? He [Walker] would be one of those people," Blair said.

    He is detail is eye-catching, especially when you consider his technique.

    "When I hold an instrument with my hands, normally I lead with my left hand and my right is there to support it," said Blair. 

    Blair was born without fully developed hands. He is missing fingers but has some wrist motion.

    "The surface area of my hands are kind of like palms but because I use them so much I've built up a pretty thick callous," said Blair.

    Raised in Pleasant Grove, Blair's family taught him that his difference did not equal a lack of determination.

    "My mom was good about that," said Blair. "She's always been one of my biggest cheerleaders. She's like - 'you're not going to tell him what he can't do. We always figure out how to do stuff',"

    Blair has typed on computers since he was in the sixth grade. He graduated from Skyline High School in Dallas and earned a Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas at Dallas.

    He drives, throws and catches balls and puts in a strenuous workout at the hospital's gym every other weeknight.

    But when Blair goes home at night to his apartment, he paints alone.. mixing the paints, the brushes and moving the canvass to his satisfaction. For naysayers who don't believe he paints in such detail, he's posted time lapsed video on YouTube.

    "To me painting a night - kind of balances me out," said Blair. "Painting at night gives me an outlet to use the other side of my brain. I get to think in terms of shape, color space." 

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