MEROM, Ind. (WTWO / WAWV) – Kennith Dials has been an artist for most of his life.
âWhen I was probably 10 or 11 years old, I drew cartoons out of comics,â Dials recalls.
Looking around his art studio, which doubles as a kitchen, you can see character designs from westerns, “The Andy Griffith Show”, and many scenic shots of the town of Merom, where Dials lives.
Dials’ passion for art originally led him to the Fort Wayne School of Art.
âIt was a commercial art school, and everything in commercial art is done in color and I’m color blind, so that was a big hurdle for me,â Dials said. “I ended up dropping out of art school.”
His color blindness isn’t the only visual handicap Dials faces. He was born with macular degeneration and is now legally blind.
âEven when I was young, I had to take off my glasses and work very close, very close to the artwork with almost my nose in contact,â Dials explained, demonstrating by placing her face close to her new project.
Since retiring, Dials said he has spent more time working on his craft. He said he stayed awake until 3 or 4 a.m. some mornings working on a drawing.
He is very inspired by the painter Norman Rockwell.
âHe painted things the way he thought the world should be,â Dials said. âI’m a bit of the same way. The world we live in today is pretty hectic, and I like to draw simple things that kind of take you back in time.
Dials’ keeps its setup fairly simple, using just a pencil and a # 2 eraser. But the end product is anything but simple. Not to mention that Dials makes the frames for his drawings himself in his garage.
Dials’ wife Ginny recently contacted the Merom Public Library to see if there was any interest in displaying her husband’s work. Once librarian Joshua Collins heard about the man behind the artwork, he quickly agreed.
âWe’re a small town, so the treasures that we have in our town, we want to share,â Collins said. âWe don’t want to keep them to ourselves. So that’s what we do here at the library; we bring his art for everyone to enjoy.
Dials said his vision problems didn’t have too much of an effect on his artwork. It is more challenged by physical activities such as walking or navigating busy buildings. He said all of these challenges can be overcome, however.
âI think people with disabilities are capable of doing amazing things,â Dials explained. “I’m just one of them who had this God-given talent that I would like to share with other people.”
Several works by Dials will be on display at the Merom library until the end of September. Those interested can also purchase designs. Dials said he hopes to someday open a store for his designs in or near Merom.