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The portrait below was painstakingly done by hand, in 138 hours, using a technique called stippling, which required the artist, Miguel Endara to “draw” it with around 2.1 million ink dots. As amazing as that may be, it’s the story behind this incredible work of art that’s really mind-blowing.
The man whose face Endara recreated with millions of dots is Benjaman Kyle. You probably don’t know who he is, and believe it or not, neither does he. Back in 2004, he was left unconscious behind a dumpster at a restaurant in Richmond Hill, Georgia. He had no belongings, no ID, suffered from severe sunburns and was almost blind from cataracts. The hospital he was taken to already had a Jon Doe, so they named him Benjaman Kyle, using the initials of the fast-food restaurant where he was found. Benjaman had no idea who he was, and didn’t really remember anything about his life before the incident. After months of medical evaluation, he was diagnosed with retrograde amnesia. Authorities coudn’t find out who he really was, so Benjaman Kyle became the only missing person in America whose whereabouts were actually known. Worse still, without a social security number and a valid ID, his life was about to become even more complicated.
Fingerprints, DNA tests, appearances on national and international news or popular shows like Dr Phil, none of these could help Benjaman find out who he really was. As time passed and no result was reached, everyone gave up on his case, and without a social security number, Mr. Kyle couldn’t get a job, or even get accepted at a homeless shelter. And because they assumed he already had a social security number, authorities refused to issue him a new one.
In 2010, three years after his appearance on Dr. Phil, Florida State University Film School student John Wikstrom learned about Benjaman’s story online, and tracked him down in Jacksonville, Florida. He was sleeping in a park and didn’t really have any hope for the future. But with the help of this young filmmaker, who created a touching short documentary, he was able to send a message to the world about his plight. Then things started happening…
He was back on the news, and thanks to the efforts of a certain Florida news anchor, his story even reached senators and representatives in the US Congress, who said the Government has got to respond, and solve his identity crisis. He was issued a Florida Legacy ID, still lacking a social security number, which established his new identity at state level. A kind-hearted restaurant owner offered Benjaman a job, and someone offered him an air-conditioned shed to sleep in, so he wouldn’t have to live in a park. Benjaman Kyle’s life changed completely, because of John Wikstrom and his documentary, but there is still one thing left unresolved – he still needs that social security number, and you can help him get it.
There’s an online petition that needs 25,000 signatures to insure the White House responds. Right now, there are over 10,000 signatures, and with only 11 days until the December 25 deadline, time is running out. If you want to help Benjaman Kyle get a new life, sign the petition and check out Finding Benjaman.com, for more information about his unique situation.
After watching a screening of the Finding Benjaman documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival, artist Miguel Endara decided to use his skills to draw some attention to this incredible story, and raise money to fuel Benjaman’s quest to get that needed SSN. So he spent 138 hours painstakingly creating his portrait out of 2 million dots, with an ink pen. That’s an average of 4.25 dots per second, and the completed artwork is simply awe-inspiring. Now, he’s selling prints of this on-of-a-kind Benjaman Kyle portrait for $90, with half the proceeds going to help his subject. Miguel went to great lengths to help Benjaman, but all you have to do is sign the petition…
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