Student who creates art with her eyes branded ‘star’ by Grayson Perry
Published on 9 December 2021
Having your art feature on a TV show and in an exhibition is a huge accomplishment for any young artist, but even more so for one University of Dundee student whose eyes are her paintbrush
Becky Tyler (19) has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, caused by complications when she was born. She is unable to walk unaided and can’t talk using her mouth, though this doesn’t stop the determined teen from doing all she wants to do.
Becky, who is from Sussex, uses an advanced eye-tracking technology to create an array of digital artworks. She found fame in the art world when she was selected to feature in of the Channel 4 series Grayson’s Art Club, earlier this year.
The show sees artist, writer and broadcaster Grayson Perry explore various forms of art, and Becky’s story and work amazed viewers up and down the nation. Her work is now on display at Bristol Art Museum and Gallery as part of an exhibition linked to the show. She will also once again grace screens when a special episode to accompany the exhibition, Grayson’s Art Club: An Exhibition for Britain, is broadcast on Channel 4 on Friday 10 December 2021.
“I was submitting my art each week to the Art Club and only got to week two when I got a call from the producer of the show,” said Becky.
“I was very excited. The producer organised for me to have a Zoom meeting with Grayson, where I showed him some of my paintings. He loved them! There was some amazing feedback and Grayson and the film company said I was the star of the show.
“The second time we met, he had a go with my eye-gaze technology, it was quite funny. I painted a portrait of Grayson to show him how I do my eye gaze painting, and this portrait not only features in the exhibition, but has also been used in the marketing and advertising for it. I feel very honoured about that.”
Alongside her artwork, Becky is passionate about raising awareness of her disability and helping others in similar situations. It is this that led her to apply to study Computing at the University, and she hopes her studies will help her break down barriers and further promote accessible communication.
“I received my first eye-gaze computer when I was seven years old and the technology means that I can now create pictures totally independently, and I am not limited by my disability when creating my art,” continued Becky. “I need help with so many aspects of my life, so being independent is very important to me.
“I feel it is very important for disabled people to have the same opportunities and life experiences wherever possible. By studying Computing, I hope to learn a lot more so I can make a good contribution to the area of computer accessibility for disabled people.
“I have struggled throughout my life to overcome other people’s judgements about me because of my disability. I would like disabled people to be treated in exactly the same way as non-disabled people, and presume we are competent. I hope my exposure has gone some way to challenge other people’s preconceived ideas about disability.”
The special episode, Grayson’s Art Club: An Exhibition for Britain, will be broadcast on Friday 10 December at 8pm on Channel 4, and features the presenter attempting to create art using the eye-gaze technology.
Previous episodes, including the other episode Becky featured in (series two, episode two), can be found on ALL 4.
Becky is also very active on Twitter, where she regularly posts about her journey and artwork. View her Twitter page here.
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