Saturday, December 16, 2006

Outsider Artist

I took the pieces you threw away
And put them together by night and day
Washed by rain, dried by sun
A million pieces
All in one. –Howard Finster

I think I know what I want to be: an outsider artist. I worry that I might need to become insane to accomplish my goal, but maybe that’s what needs to be done. You have to sacrifice for art: it demands it of you. Alternately, I could simply avoid all contact with the mainstream art world, exploring unconventional ideas and creating extraordinary fantasy landscapes. I think that’s more doable, especially the avoiding the mainstream art world part, which isn’t my cup of tea anyway.

Some benefits of becoming an outsider artist:
• I would be seen as “more authentic”
• I could collect scraps and slivers and bits and pieces with impunity
• Social acclaim would not mar my creative process (until suddenly it did)
• I could make socially inappropriate remarks to dealers come from the big city to survey my work--and no one would think less of me for it. (See the movie Junebug)
• I would have direct contact with God and/or the devil. (This could also be considered a downside.)
• I might be asked to do an album cover for R.E.M.
• I could help demonstrate to the world that “cultural art” is the “game of a futile society, a fallacious parade” (Jean Dubuffet). Of course, I could not really know this myself, or else I would not be able to demonstrate it.

There are clearly many benefits to this new career. I don’t want to be too hasty, though. One cannot undertake such things lightly.

(Image: Howard Finster’s “Trash Can from Paradise Garden.” He’s right.)

4 Comments:

Blogger artsy-gal said...

Should you decide to embark on this career, I have just the gallery where you can launch your work. :o)

Merry Christmas and Happy 2007!

8:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Happy New Year, Betsy! (Do you like those Gee's Bend quilts?)

9:50 AM  
Blogger geoffreycrayon said...

I finally followed your advice, i.e. I read your blog and started one of my own—albeit far less glam than yours, naturally. (Shaun Cassidy hasn't returned any of my calls.)

Alas, you haven't posted for two months! I'm sad because, while I reached mr. betsytacy on the phone the other day, T and I weren't home when you called us. We're ready now to read and post and communicate like 21st century people stripped of nearly all ludditic inhibitions. Post! Post! Please betsytacy, don't let me down.

Of course, if composing outsider art masterpieces out of our cultural detritus is keeping you busy, sail on.

6:36 AM  
Blogger tapa girl said...

As long as you're exploring the fringe...consider Oleg Kulik:

"In April, Russian performance artist Oleg Kulik opened a two- week show,
"I Bite America and America Bites Me," in which he stayed in character as
a dog from the time his plane landed in New York City until the time he left
town. Kulik holed up in a gallery cage wearing only a dog collar and
exhibiting the gamut of dog behaviors and emotions, and visitors could enter
the cage to play with him only after putting on protective padding in case
Kulik bit them. Kulik has been arrested in three countries for biting his
audience." (ruthlessly stolen from the Fun_People Archive (16 May 97, http://www.langston.com/Fun_People/1997/1997AUS.html) I recently heard a paper concerned with the construction of Russian identity in which his work was examined...so even the fringe is steeped in academia these days.

To Julie- I haven't seen the exhibition, but the documentary on the Gee's Bend quilts made me cry(happy tears, mind you).
Granted, I'm a softie.

9:20 PM  

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