I came across a very interesting website, The Foundation for Self-Taught American Artists . I have featured a number of self-taught painters here, always finding their will to create and find a form of self-expression a truly fascinating thing.
I love how they overcome their lack of training or lack of materials to form a vocabulary that speaks of their own unique place in the world. This site is dedicated to these artists who overcome.
On the opening page of the site was a trailer for a documentary featuring the work of James Castle, who was born in 1899 in Idaho and lived there until his death in 1977. Profoundly deaf since birth, Castle never learned to sign or even read or write but instead found expression in the drawings he created from a mixture of soot and saliva that he applied to scraps of paper with a sharpened stick that acted as a crude ink stylus. Over the course of his life he created thousands of drawings, collages and other constructions that make up a truly unique and wonderful body of work. He gained some regional recognition for his work but it wasn’t until after his death that he gained a wider audience.
I find great inspiration in seeing the work of artists like James Castle and hearing their stories. Their work is a triumph of the creative spirit and I am grateful for the people and institutions that keep the work alive. If you feel the same, The Foundation for Self-Taught American Artists is a great site to visit.
Here’s the trailer for the Castle documentary, James Castle: Portrait of an Artist. I’ll be looking for it.