MEROM, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Kennith Dials has been an artist for most of his life.
“When I was probably 10, 11 years old I would draw cartoons from comic books,” Dials recalled.
When looking around his art studio, which doubles as his kitchen, one can see drawings of characters from westerns, “The Andy Griffith Show” and plenty of scenic shots from around the town of Merom, Ind., where Dials lives.
Dials’ passion for art originally led him to art school in Fort Wayne.
“It was a commercial art school, and everything in commercial art is done in color and I’m colorblind, so that was a big obstacle for me,” Dials said. “I ended up dropping out of art school.”
His colorblindness isn’t the only visual impairment Dials faces. He was born with macular degeneration and is now legally blind.
“Even when I was young, I had to take my glasses off and work up real close, real close to the artwork with almost my nose touching,” Dials explained, demonstrating by placing his face close to his newest project.
Since retiring, Dials said he has spent more time working on his craft. He said he stays up until 3 or 4 a.m. some mornings working on a drawing.
He said he draws a lot of inspiration from painter Norman Rockwell.
“He painted things the way he thought the world should be,” Dials said. “I’m kind of the same way. The world we live in nowadays is pretty hectic, and I like to draw things that are simple and kind of takes you back in time.”
Dials’ keeps his set-up pretty simple, too, using just a No. 2 pencil and eraser. But the final product is anything but simple. Not to mention, Dials builds the frames for his drawings himself in his garage.
Dials’ wife, Ginny, recently reached out to 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.
“We’re a small town, so the treasures that we have in our town, we want to share them,” Collins said. “We don’t want to keep them to ourselves. So, that’s what we’re doing here at the library; we’re bringing his art so everyone can enjoy it.”
Dials said his vision troubles don’t have too much of an effect on his artwork. He is more challenged with physical activities like walking or navigating busy buildings. He said all of these challenges can be overcome, though.
“I think handicapped people are capable of doing amazing things,” Dials shared. “I’m just one of them that had this God-given talent that I would like to share with other people.”
Several pieces of Dials’ work will be featured at the Merom library through the end of September. Interested people can purchase drawings, as well. Dials said he hopes to one day open up a shop for his drawings in Merom or a surrounding area.