There’s gotta be a more p.c. term these days than “outsider art.” …that being, art made by people out of some compulsion, not a desire to be a famous artist, therefore, they are “outside” of the art community (until an “insider” artist discovers them.) I hear the term “folk art” being used in the same way, but I think folk artists are maybe more conscious of their works? I’m no expert here, but it seems classist.
Whatever the correct term is, my grandma is that.
She says, when she was growing up, being an artist, especially for a woman, was not a possibility. Sadly, it was, one just needed to be in the right place, like New York or Paris, to see there were others out there. So she has never thought of herself as an artist at all.
Her art has inspired me since I was a kid. I used to try to draw just like this in elementary school and the other kids thought I was a genius…nope! just rippin’ off grandma! We did collaborations, too, but her contribution had a carefree, flowing look to it, whereas mine looked forced and over-thought.
She uses the worst materials, completely non-archival, which really started sending me into a tizzy once I learned more about it. I’ve tried to supply her with good pens and paper but she still prefers sharpies on crap paper that turns yellow quickly. For her, the importance lies in the process of making them, she couldn’t care less if anyone else saw them or if they last another week.
This is just one of her freaky drawings. She has notebooks full of these and she finds them as fascinating as I do, as if she is not actually in charge of making them, they sort of channel through her. Really! She often draws in the dark or low-light, letting her mind go to another place. My grandmother is very high-strung and this is one thing that relaxes her. When her mother died, my grandma told me she was drawing throughout the night, without thinking about it at all and when she looked at the drawings later, was surprised to see all the people and animals that appeared in the lines.
I don’t think there is anything wrong with her methods. She makes art for herself. It’s me who selfishly wants to preserve it and show it to other people. It’s a good reminder that art is intuitive in all of us and not only the art-educated are allowed to express themselves however they feel with whatever is available to them.