I love outsider art. I love it in all its forms; naïve art, folk art, visionary art, art brut. I don’t really care if, as some people say, the art world has destroyed that term by overuse, I will still use it. (A basic definition of outsider art would be: any art made by someone with no formal/institutional training, the artist being unrelated to the Art Establishment and producing artwork with no expectation of selling or otherwise exchanging the artwork. So, yes, your kid could be an outsider artist…unless they have attend an art class.) Sadly, many artists who fit into the “outsider” rubric had died before their work came to be seen by the public and not a few of these artists suffered from mental/emotional diseases, but I am glad that some of them were able to find some solace (or so it seems) in making artwork.
So why do I love outsider artists so much? Well, just about all the time I am inspired by outsider artists; in being outside of the Establishment they create for reasons that are, to me, much more pure than most professional artists. A creative impulse exists within them – as it does in everyone, I believe – and they believe it is worth their time to sit down and actually make something. And in so doing, most outsiders end up having immediately recognizable styles, a naturally uninhibited bearing-of-the-soul directly onto the canvas that does not need to be refueled with grant money. That’s terrifically inspiring to me. Secondly, when I have had the chance to see a work in person, to just stand before it and consider it, contemplate it even, I am not left with the what-is-this-work-trying-to-say? that occurs so often with modern and post-modern artwork, but I am fill with a profound sense of joy. Yes, joy. Joy and gratefulness wash over me – along with whatever other emotions – for whomever the artist is, whatever their circumstance, they made something. Just like me and a couple million other people in the world sit in our rooms, in coffee shops, in classes, on busses and we write, we draw, we dance, we sing day in and day out and we hope to the universe that someone someday will see what we do and say “Hey, I really enjoyed that. That was great.” I feel the joy that comes from the freedom of not thinking such thoughts as well as the joy of knowing its just as worthwhile to create if no one sees/hears/cares about what I create.
And so, I would like to inform you that the images you have been seeing are by a Serbian-Hungarian painter by the name of Emerik Fejes (1904-1969). While he didn’t start painting until he was 45 – illnesses which had kept him bedridden or otherwise close to home throughout his life finally kept him homebound – Fejes was able to create quite the oeuvre of colorful paintings of famous cities, mostly based upon black-and-white postcards that he had accumulated. The clean lines, impressive details, and brilliant use of colors in each of these paintings give more than enough to look at, even on an unjustly small computer screen like mine, and allow for a surprising amount of perspective to these seemingly simplistic line-and-color paintings. I hope you enjoy these paintings by the fantastic Emerik Fejes.