Last weekend we paid a visit to the Outsider Art Fair in NYC. Outsider art can range from middle-class hobby art to abstract expressions of the clinically insane, there is no sect of society that is left out, other than those who have formal training.
One of my favorite outsider artists is janitor recluse Henry Darger (1892–1973). Darger is famous for his posthumously discovered 15,145 page, illustrated manuscript called The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion. To achieve the effect of his hundreds of illustrations he discovered and used watercolor, pencil, collage and tracing methods.
One of 3 known pictures of Darger
If you want to learn more about Henry Darger there is a great documentary called In the Realms of the Unreal by Jessica Yu.
Another favorite outsider artist of mine is outsider artist Bill Traylor. Traylor, born into slavery, lived most of his life on the street. His 1,500 works depicting animals and simplified figures are recognized by their flat color and almost Modernist style. Using only pencil and poster paint in only a few colors he created his works on found paper and cardboard.
Traylor at work