In recent years I have become so addicted to the micro-blogging world of facebook that my love of actually taking time explore my ideas has quite fallen by the wayside. And, while I feel like there is value in expressing myself with a few pithy sentences here and there, I think I have reached a point where I want to go a little deeper and explain a bit further those thoughts that swirl around and fight for attention in my head…if you make art, then you know the feeling.
As our world becomes smaller and smaller, and, as our artistic community becomes more global, with ever-evolving avenues of self promotion and networking possibilities, it becomes crucial for us to be able to define our visual art with easily understood words…in short, we are being forced to define our “brand.”
So, let me try to make it through the blank canvas syndrome of this first post by explaining what I mean when I present myself as a Neo-Freak Folk Artist in Modern Day Appalachia.
From Wikipedia: “Folk art expresses cultural identity by conveying shared community values and aesthetics. It encompasses a range of utilitarian and decorative media, including cloth, wood, paper, clay, metal and more. If traditional materials are inaccessible, new materials are often substituted, resulting in contemporary expressions of traditional folk art forms. In contrast to fine art, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic. Folk Art is characterized by a naive style, in which traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not employed. Closely related terms are Outsider Art, Self-Taught Art and Naive Art.”
My strengths have always lay in my ability to combine colors, textures and patterning in an interesting way, and, although I am only a few credits shy of an art degree, I think of this as something inherent in my soul, rather than being something I learned along the way. I have allegiance to any set of rules for my art making, neither in artistic style nor in terms of pottery making traditions; if it works for me, then it is fair game. I am inspired by traditional Folk Artists of Appalachia, folks like Minnie Adkins and Linvel Barker who seem to inhabit a place just a little away from the mainstream where the laws of this world do not apply.
Yet, and here is where the “Neo Freak” part comes in, I strive to find my own ability to walk on the edge of that tradition. It is important to me to find a way to lovingly represent those among us who might feel strange or different or odd or just weird. By celebrating the slightly freakish in my work, I hope to give us all a voice and a small sense of okay-ness.