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Outsider Artist – That’s Me!

Can I help you? My creative response to the stressors of working in long term care during the height of COVID crisis. The title asks the viewer – “who needs help?” This is a prime example of outsider art.

Discovering my artistic ability occurred by chance. I picked up markers one day and just started drawing. I would get feedback from family and salespeople at art supply stores. The feedback would involve giving me snippets of info on how to use certain objects and materials. YouTube was also a helpful resource. I would wonder how to improve in some way and search YouTube. After a few minutes, I was off and running.

Now, this has all led to my diving headfirst into creating art using charcoal, pastels, and paper. I never knew what I was. I felt a bit like a phony. People bought pieces and encouraged me assuring me I had talent. I never had any training, but I showed talent. I mean I never even took one single art class as an adult! I started this venture in August 2020 – that’s just nine months ago!

What was I? What was my genre? I am definitely not a realist. I am expressive and not a surrealist. Sometimes, I have drawn ideas; I called that my concept art. The idea of being confined by rules and all that made me feel constrained. All I could think of was how many of the masters had spent years unlearning their art school training.

I had the good fortune of meeting Dan Goldberg, contemporary artist, at Somerville Open Studios recently. On this occasion, I enjoyed his artwork and fell into a conversation about my artwork. He very graciously viewed some of my photos of my artwork and immediately stated, “You’re an outsider artist.” He was complimentary and gave me some good feedback. He stated that finding my voice is what happened through my “raw art”.

I was thrilled! I had a definition! I researched the topic and found that this is what an outsider artist is: “the work of artists who demonstrate little influence from the mainstream art world and who are, instead, motivated by their unique personal visions.” Outsider art is “The development of the awareness of forms of creative expression that exist outside accepted cultural norms, or the realm of “fine art”. Outsider art was called “Art Brut or Raw Art, which were works in their “raw” state, uncooked by cultural and artistic influences.”

Here are some examples:

Maria, my greyhound. Hard pastel on paper. My son said that he could almost smell her breath. I posted this on a Facebook artist page and got lots of responses – mostly good – some with recommendations on how to improve aka become more mainstream.
Sarah Vaughan, charcoal on paper
Cardinal – hard pastel on paper. I love the angle of the bird. It’s as if the cardinal is saying, “What you looking at?” or “I see you.”

I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback.

1 thought on “Outsider Artist – That’s Me!

  1. Thank you for your honest words about the two of us meeting. I’m very flattered. Thank you!
    Never give up, keep moving forward……..
    “An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one”!
    Charles Horton Cooley

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