Some thoughts about Raw Art

By Sue Kreitzman

      Once the term Raw Art (and the the term 'Outsider Art') was used to describe work produced by artists working in cultural isolation, following their own vision. Their isolation might be physical, emotional , or a result of mental illness (or a combination of these). Their work is idiosyncratic, bold and arresting, rarely pretty or twee. These isolates, working outside the cultural mainstream, following their personal and passionate visions, produce compelling, exciting and often disturbing work.

      But the term has now expanded to include other artists as well, individuals who may be connected to, and function in society, but really have no interest in the established art world, little or no formal training, yet are driven to make art. This art is a compulsion, a reaction, a statement, and as necessary to existence as breathing or eating. This type of artist often experiments wildly with unexpected media, and makes up technique as he or she goes along. There are many of these odd creatures, each unique in the way their artistic urges burst out, but united in the need to express angst, beliefs, and political and spiritual views through art. Many are true visionaries with weird and wonderful private mythologies. All of that vision and mythos spills out flamboyantly onto canvas, wood, scrap metal, whatever is available. Raw artists tend to be scavengers, therefore many build exhilarating and strange constructs out of detritus and junk; all the gorgeous rubbish that less visionary folks throw away.