Got a fav up there? Which car did you lose your virginity in the back seat of? (Or wish you did) These come to us courtesy of outsider artist Gregory Blackstock whose title for 25 1/2 years was “dishwasher.” (my title most of the time too) I can’t draw as well, but we both share a love for lists. His meticulous hand draws and colors lists with a verve that engages the white-hot desire of collecting.
Remember those childhood collections? Lined up rows of matchbox cars, funny shaped rocks or sandy shells bouncing around in my pocket. Sacred-sleeved baseball cards revealed only to best friends or that cute neighbor girl. My sister’s candy cigarette stash. Ah the devotion.
We have adult-sized shoe boxes now. Collections give us a crystalline goal. The luxury of being utterly unique. No one else has a matryoshka doll gathering like mine. Or a stack of LP’s quite as eclectic. I set loose my inner Lewis and Clark to find worthy additions, nose to the ground. When I score one, I hold a dream fulfilled right in my hot little hands. Can’t beat that.
Speaking of beets. Here’s a sweet bevy. Love their invigorating roundness. Bulbous planets of vibrating color, crowded together, yet precise-perfect. Stubby-hair heads look like gap-toothed grins. A taxonomic chart with soul– not so taxing.
I like the name of the first beet. Early Wonder. And that’s what Blackstock does for us doesn’t he? Encourages us wriggle our fingers down deep, past the adult-worried flotsam, to discover again our early wonder. And draw it out, silver shining.
Currently on display at STAG on South Congress. Austin, TX
Outsider art. I just learned the term the other day. These self-taught artists boast no formal training. One branch of this gutsy tree is “folk art.” Fresh, approachable and without pretense. In a word – charming.
The formal art world shuns them and you won’t see their work in museums (yet). Some are autistic, some finished school at 7th grade, most are normal people like you and me. They work in paint, embroidery, and old mop handles. The fine art establishment doesn’t know what to do with them. But we do.
We love their boisterous individualism, deep roots and “connectedness.” We admire the moxy with which they occupy their their garages, kitchen tables and backyards, just making art.
When I saw this it reminded me of Swedish embroidery. I thought “fresh” and “cozy.” I smell the cut grass, and hear bees buzzing. The green turquoise line and simple flower symmetries dissolve my anxiety mountain of post holiday to-do’s. Cheers me up. Simplifies happy. I found out through later research that this was drawing for a quilt Ms. Perkins planned. So “cozy” works too. .