Tactile Art

Feeling the Masterpiece

The importance of making art accessible for the blind and low vision community cannot be overstated. It’s about ensuring that a whole section of society doesn’t remain excluded from the profound experiences art can offer. As an advocate for accessibility in visual art, let’s discuss some of the ways art can be made accessible to those with no sight, allowing an opportunity to connect with the emotions, stories, and creativity that artists pour into their work.

While audio descriptions are an excellent way to make two-dimensional art accessible, what about sculptures and three-dimensional pieces? Enter tactile art, a form of art specifically designed to be touched and explored through the sense of touch. Tactile art offers a unique opportunity for the visually impaired to immerse themselves in the world of sculpture and to feel the shapes, textures, and details that lie beneath their fingertips.

If you work in a 3d physical medium like sculpture, ceramics or other similar modality, consider creating an additional smaller version of your piece that is meant to be touched. We recommend aiming at a piece that is ten to twelve inches wide. Include all the texture and shape of the original. Make your piece easy to clean and well-sealed to protect it against damage from any disinfectant the location exhibiting your work may need to utilize. Ensure that this smaller version of your work is secured to a base so that it cannot be knocked or dropped when viewers are interacting with it.

For artists, creating tactile versions of their work allows them to reach a broader audience. It’s a chance to share their vision in a more intimate forum – through touch with those who might otherwise have remained unaware of their talent and creativity. Tactile art transforms art appreciation into an interactive experience, deepening the connection between the artwork and the observer.

Photography: Capturing Emotions Beyond Sight

Tactile (touchable) art is not only reserved for sculptures, Paintings and Photography have been brought into the realm of accessibility through embossed prints using 3d printers. Visual artists are experimenting with techniques to convert their images into tactile prints using this method, providing a tactile experience for the blind and visually impaired. This innovative approach ensures that even in the world of photography and 2-d art, the blind can access the emotions, stories, and moments captured within each frame. Using this approach, artists can reach a previously untapped market and simultaneously explore novel dimensions of their artistry. It’s an opportunity for rtists to extend the reach of their narratives and offer unique perspectives that transcend traditional visual limitations.


Ted, a stout man with a ponytail and glasses sits on a wooden bench with his black lab guide dog Fauna. They are both looking at the camera and both wearing hats. Behind them, a sunset sky with clouds can be seen over the peaks of the rocky mountains. Brown grass and snow can be seen behind them as well.

About the author

Ted Tahquechi is a blind photographer, travel influencer, disability advocate and photo educator based in Denver, Colorado. You can see more of Ted’s work at www.tahquechi.com

Ted operates Blind Travels, a travel blog designed specifically to empower blind and visually impaired travelers. https://www.blindtravels.com/

Ted’s body-positive Landscapes of the Body project has been shown all over the world, learn more about this intriguing collection of photographic work at: https://www.bodyscapes.photography/

 Questions or comments? Feel free to email Ted at: nedskee@tahquechi.com 

Instagram: @nedskee

Twitter: @nedskee