When Hal Lasko’s grandson, Ryan, showed him how to use the computer in 1998, nobody could have foreseen how profoundly it would affect his life.
When the senior Lasko’s eyesight started to decline due to wet macular degeneration, his passion for painting was compromised.
But now, at 97 years old and legally blind, he has learned to use the computer to pick up where he left off with a brush and canvas. Using the most simple of art apps, Microsoft Paint, he creates intricate pictures comprised of pixels to create “paintings” that bring to mind the work of pointillist Georges Seurat — gone digital.
"I had paintings that I'd started that I no longer could work on, so I put them on the computer," Lasko told NBC News. "I found out that if I blew it up, I could see exactly what I couldn't see when I was painting."
After a lifetime of using brushes and pens – aside from painting, Lasko was a professional type designer – a mouse and screen took some getting used to. Lasko said, "I had to find out how colors mixed and things like that. And that took quite a long time, like months, I'd say."
Aside from exhibiting his work in shows, he has a website devoted to his art as well. In celebration of his 98th birthday, his artworks on Hallasko.com are being sold for $98, of which 10 percent will be donated to Veterans of Foreign Wars programs.
How does “Grandpa” feel about using such a modern medium to make — not to mention sell — his work?
"The computer is just such a wonderful way to design. It's a wonderful way for people with poor eyesight and poor hearing to spend their time. I feel more creative now than when I was actually painting,” he said.
Watch the eight-minute film, "The Pixel Painter," directed by Josh Bogdan and Ryan Lasko (Hal's son and grandson) below:
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