An accident made her blind, but couldn’t deter her vision for art – Meet the incredible artist Emilie Gossiaux
On October 8, 2010, Emilie Gossiaux was hit by an 18-wheeler truck while riding her bike to a studio in New York City. Her heart stopped for about one minute after she went into cardiac arrest. She had suffered a traumatic brain injury and multiple fractures in her head, pelvis and leg. Her mother was told that her daughter was gone, and asked for organ donation.
But God had some other plans; five weeks later, Emilie was still alive. Unfortunately Emilie lost her eyesight after the accident. But, that could not deter the fighting spirit of Emilie Gossiaux and she continued her passion for painting and sculpting.
After I went blind, I was not really sure if I was going to continue being an artist, stating that she was considering careers in the culinary arts or massage therapy, though never seriously. So I took two years off from going to school at Cooper and at that time, I was basically learning how to be an independent person again, how to travel, use technology, and cook, everything that people do, Emilie said.
Emilie enrolled at BLIND Inc. in Minneapolis, a school that teaches blind teenagers and adults how to live independently with braille classes, computer classes, and cooking classes. Her favorite class was Industrial Arts.
The Industrial Arts teacher is the one who really taught me how to use my hands again. I never carved sculptures out of wood before, but that was something we were doing. He would assign me projects where I would learn how to use a chisel and a mallet and create sculptures with them. He also showed me how to use the lathe to make cups and bowls. Adds Emilie.
Now, six years after the terrible accident, 26-year-old Emilie Gossiaux lives solo. Emilie works on her sculptures at the Long Island City studio of Daniel Arsham, the artist for whom she was interning at the time of the accident. Her work—spare, playful pieces of stoneware, plaster and papier-mâché—has been shown in group and partner exhibitions in New York, Washington, D.C., California and London. She is also a freelance educator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She teaches a drawing class for people with visual impairments. Emilie often tours with her guide dog. This Cooper Union art graduate has proven that no obstacle is too large to overcome.