Friday, October 31, 2008

Outsider art...

Those of you who know me, know that I am pretty enthusiastic about street art, or what is becoming known as "Outsider Art". This new label is sort of a contradiction, as by becoming a "kind" of art, implies that it is being recognized by the art world. A world, which many street artists by their actions used to eschew, just by virtue of creating art that cannot be bought. This is one of the reasons why I love this art so much- because it calls into question concepts of ownership, and value. This has always made it seem more pure to me than gallery art. However, now that these artists are becoming valued, their positions in regards to ownership have become much more complicated, and in a sense, I feel betrayed (dramatic, I know). On the other hand, I am happy for any artist who can make a living doing what they love, so this complicates things for me, whereas my love has turned into "love/hate/I understand, but can't endorse". This has led me to start to really look at those who are not part of this elite group of up and comers. One person in particular is really exceptional, I feel, and I wanted to show you some of his stuff I've bought, which is pictured above. He draws only in crayon and marker, and usually sits in the 8th avenue stop on the L train. I think he is homeless, and is confined to a wheelchair, constantly hunched over his drawings. Most of the subject matter is alien stuff, but the colors and dynamism of all of it is really stunning. He only charges $20 for a piece, so I try to get one every time I see him. He signs all of his stuff as Joseph. It really makes me happy when I see him and all of his stuff on display.


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