Monday, February 11, 2013

Four Birds, Outsider Artists & Henry Darger

Four Birds by megan_n_smith_99
Four Birds, a photo by megan_n_smith_99 on Flickr.

You may have noticed, I've been working a bit bigger as of late. If you click on this photo it'll take you to my flickr photostream & you can look at the sets "Watercolor 2013" & "Pen & Ink 2013" to see what I have been working on.

Yesterday I showed my art at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard (Seattle). It looks like I will be doing that monthly - I will let you know. It was nice to talk to folks a bit - being an artist mostly you sit in a room by yourself all day. I'd be compelled to do it even if no one ever saw it, but it's still nice to take it out for a day on the town occasionally.

Speaking of artists who NEVER take their work out on the town, I suppose you've heard of Henry Darger? He was a reclusive artist - reclusive to the point that no one even knew he WAS an artist until after he died and many many works of art plus a 15,145 page manuscript were found in his rented room. There is an interesting documentary about him called In the Realms of the Unreal. I really enjoyed it. I should warn you that his work has naked little girls in it - only they are, uh, endowed like little boys. Some people think that is pornographic, but the film maker made a pretty good case that Darger had no relationships with women at any point in his life - in fact he had very few relationships at all and those he had were superficial. He probably was not aware that little girls were not made like little boys, and his work seems to me to reference the innocence of childhood, but I thought I would warn you in case you did not want to see that.

I had a chance to see one of his pieces in person and it really was amazing. And he is the epitome of outsider artist - he sort of made up his own techniques and used whatever materials he had at hand.

Someone asked me yesterday if I went to art school -- the answer is no. I took a few art classes in college - paper making and ceramics. The only instruction I ever had in drawing or painting was in high school. I did take one workshop in watercolor when I was in my teens. I've figured it out as I went along and there are still a lot of things I don't know, and probably things I am doing "wrong" as well. So in spite of 15 years working in the field of fine arts (though not AS an artist) i am an outsider artist, myself.

This painting is:
Four Birds
12 x 16"
Available on Etsy.

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