When I started to think about this blog, what it was going to be about, what would drive it.... I decided that it would be important to define for my followers...What is folk art? It seems to me that there is some confusion as to what makes folk art different from the rest of the art out there roaming the world.
According to Webster's Dictionary, folk art is defined as artistic works, as paintings, sculpture, basketry, and utensils, produced typically in cultural isolation by untrained often anonymous artists or by artisans of varying degrees of skill and marked by such attributes as highly decorative design, bright bold colors, flattened perspective, strong forms in simple arrangements, and immediacy of meaning. Unfortunately, I find some problems with that definition.
Although, they are correct in stating the different mediums used in folk art, today's folk artists are highly skilled, some with or without formal training and the colors and arrangements are not primarily bold or simple. There are many professional artists that made their entire careers using a folk art motif in their works. For example, Charles Wysocki and Jane Wooster Scott. Both artists were formally trained but, their work flourished in a folk art style.
No I don't believe that folk art can be defined in the same way that it was even twenty years ago. Throughout the last decade, I believe that it has taken on a new attitude perhaps borrowed from it's cousin "outsider art." Folk art can now be defined in much looser terms. For instance, a style that is not influenced by movements in academics or fine art circles and not restrained by the tight grasp that the fine art world may consider art worthy.
Todays folk artists are totally free to express their love of anything from angels to cute little puppies (yes even cats), whether or not it is deemed appropriate in the mainstream "art world." That is the folk art that I love. A true visual expression of thoughts, feelings and ideas of day to day life, a true power to the people story! Folk art is art of the people, for the people!!!!