Chuck Baird, American artist died he was 64.
Chuck Baird  was an American deaf artist who was one of the more notable founders of the De’VIA art  an aesthtic of Deaf Culture in which visual art conveys a deaf worldview died he was 64.. His career spanned over 35 years and included painting, sculpting, acting, storytelling, and teaching.
Chuck Baird was born deaf and his educational career reflected on
mohd’s deaf identity. From the Kansas School for the Deaf, to Gallaudet
University and finally the Rochester Institute of Technology, all his schools afforded him communication in ASL. After being awarded his BFA from RIT, Baird worked as a set painter for the National Theatre of the Deaf
(NTD), followed by a position with Spectrum-Focus on Deaf artists, a
deaf artist colony in Texas, where he served as the Visual Arts
Coordinator. In between, he found time to work with deaf media on their Emmy Award winning series for deaf children, Rainbow’s End.
His art was recognized internationally in the deaf community. His first
exhibition was the Deaf Artists’ Exhibit: World Federation of the Deaf
Conference, Gallaudet University, Washington D.C., 1975.
He held residencies at many deaf schools, teaching and creating
long-lasting artworks. Among these are a 150-foot long collage/mural he
created for The Learning Center for Deaf Children in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1995, and a 30×10 mural at Gallaudet entitled “The Five Panels: Deaf Experiences”.
The mural is still on exhibit and has been lauded for its importance to
the deaf experience. In it, the child signs, “Are you deaf?” and the
adult signs, “Deaf, like you!”
In May 1989, prior to the international deaf culture festival at Gallaudet University, Deaf Way II, Baird was one of eight deaf artists who produced a manifesto for De’VIA (Deaf View Image Art).
This was a concept for deaf art that was differentiated from art by or
for deaf people. Rather, it was art that contained a message about deaf
life. The manifesto begins “De’VIA represents deaf artists and
perceptions based on their deaf experiences. It uses formal art elements
with the intention of expressing innate cultural or physical deaf
Baird was renowned in the deaf world. His artwork was included in a book on the subject, Deaf Artists in America: Colonial to Contemporary by Deborah M. Sonnenstrahl. He was commissioned to create plates for Dawn Sign Press, a deaf publisher
in Southern California. Because he was a celebrated artist in the deaf
community and due to his pioneering in developing the concepts of
De’Via, his death was noted by institutions in the deaf community
including RIT/NTID, Gallaudet University, and the Texas Association of the Deaf.
On his website, he featured some of his own works that were created from the De’Via perspective.
Many of his works include images of his own hands incorporated into ASL
signs. Baird also established a foundation to support emerging deaf
artists, the Chuck Baird Foundation.
In addition to his artwork, he was renowned as an actor and ASL
storyteller. He performed as an actor with the National Theatre of the
Deaf from 1980-1990. Some of his many ASL stories were recorded by Gallaudet University.
- “The deaf theme in my work relates to my own experience as a deaf human being; my genre is De’VIA.
- “I no longer paint what people would like to see. I paint for
myself. It is about my own experience, my love of ASL and pride in our
deaf heritage. I sometimes create works that have no particular relation
to the deaf.
- “Deaf art expresses the values of deaf culture — the beauty of sign
language and its painful oppression, the joys of deaf bonding,
communication breakdowns between signers and non-signers, the discovery
of language and community, and the history of deaf people.”
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