Wild creations by self-taught artists like James Hampton Jr. spring forth all around the world, as if from a common primal urge. Made from materials at hand (often gleaned from the trash) these off-kilter sculptures, pop can whirligigs, hieroglyphic-covered grottoes, and other examples of unschooled creativity often show the artist's obsessive attention to detail and supreme effort over a long time.
This work is called "outsider art" because it begins outside academia and the art marketplace, but often it is created literally out of doors. During the past half century it has become increasingly popular, and some outsider artists have gained recognition by galleries, arts media, and collectors. Raw Vision magazine is a good source of information about outsider art. Launched in 1989 and now published quarterly, the fascinating and colorful international journal covers "intuitive and visionary art, outsider art, Art Brut, contemporary folk art, self-taught art." Each issue includes profiles, reviews, and news about collections and exhibitions as well as illustrations of the art itself.
The Gospel According to James
The Power of the Throne
Inside Outside Art
Subscriptions: $38/yr. (4 issues) from 163 Amsterdam Ave. #203, New York, NY 10028; www.rawvision.com.
Also worth noting: The Outsider, a newsletter published by Intuit: the Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art (756 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60622; http://outsider.art.org).