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The art of Aphantasia: how 'mind blind' artists create without being able to visualise

By Matthew MacKisack, Associate Research Fellow, University of Exeter
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Glen Keane, the Oscar-winning artist behind such Disney classics as The Little Mermaid (1989), was once described by Ed Catmull the former president of Pixar and Walt Disney Studios as “one of the best animators in the history of hand-drawn animation”. But when he sat down to design Ariel, or indeed the beast from Beauty and the Beast (1991), Keane’s mind was a blank. He had no preconception of what he would draw.

This is because he has aphantasia,…

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