When Erika York works on a painting, she's often just inches away from the canvas. And this is for a good reason. If she takes just a few steps away, the painting will become blurry.
"I can see the camera," she told us during an interview last week. "I mean, I can see a big black (blur) with the light. And I can see you. I can see your suit and your tie. But I can't see your face."
York suffers from Stargardt Disease, a condition that causes the "progressive damage or degeneration of the macula," a part of the retina. The condition will chip away at ones vision, making it hard to see from any significant distance.
Despite her condition, York said art is her passion.
"Everyone can create art," she said. "I mean, I can put a blindfold on and make art."
York is one of three artists being highlighted at "Illuminations and Impressions," a new art exhibit on display until May 4th. All of the artists have conditions creating some level of diminished visibility. The exhibit was created through a partnership between Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind and the GW Corcoran School of the Arts and Design.
Another artist at the exhibit is Sharnita Smoot. She can only see out of one eye, and suffers from photophobia, defined by a high sensitivity to light.
"I turned to painting," she said. "And that was my healer. That was my love. That was what took me away from my chaotic life, and brought me true happiness."
The exhibit is located at the H-Space Gallery, located at 1932 9th St. NW, and will be open on Tuesdays from 12-5p.m., and Fridays 12-6p.m.The exhibit can also be seen by appointment, by contacting Elizabeth Knipp at firstname.lastname@example.org.