Saturday, 23 November 2013

Outsider Art

Yesterday I watched a wonderful programme on Outsider Art with Allan Yentob on the BBC 4 arts channel. This was a whole new idea to me. All the artists featured have had little or no contact with the mainstream art world and are largely untutored. Many have psychiatric problems and began to work in art as therapy. The result, judging from this programme, is amazingly spontaneous and uninhibited - all of it extraordinary, both in its inspiration and its execution.

Getting access to images from the programme was not easy but I've included here a photo of a piece by a Romanian outsider artist Ionel Talpazan whose art is an attempt to make sense of an encounter as a child with what he thinks was a UFO ...

... and this extraordinarily detailed drawing by Johann Garber who lives at Gugging in Austria, which is home to 14 psychiatric patients  ...

Much, much more was shown in the programme - all of it amazing - and some disturbing - but if you can't access the BBC channel, much is to be found at the Henry Boxer Gallery and on the website - and more still from Art Brut and Outsider Art at

... including this painting by Mark Ashton Vey who paints trees in extraordinary colours - I couldn't resist all that exuberant colour ...

All of these artists are largely self-taught and their work seems to pour from them in profusion - incredible, inspiring and to me, much of the work resembled doodling ... I'll think about that  ...


  1. Here in the southern states of the US we have quite a few outsider artists. The ones I know of usually live in small houses somewhere fairly remote and they just create, create, create. Lots of bright colors - many times they use people as their subjects and they are quite fun. Thanks for sharing this - its truly art (outsider or not) when it so obviously comes the depth of a person's soul.

    1. You've put your finger on it for me. It was the coming from the depths of the soul that came across so strongly in the programme and that was what I found so inspiring. It was a strong lesson in the power of commitment and devotion.

  2. I've always considered myself rather an outsider artist, not because of the disturbed mind connection, but because I always feel as though I'm on the fringe of things. But then I guess you could say that I've always felt like an outsider in all domains of life, not just art.

    1. Your work is always original and maybe being an artist is all about being an outsider to a certain extent - the different mind looking at things.


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