Outsider Art

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Outsider art is a term I picked up from Loren Munk (James Kalm) on his YouTube channel called, JamesKalm. I have not heard his definition but from what I can deduce, it is about not having enjoyed formal art education as in painting and drawing classes. In that sense I am an outsider artist. I have had maybe three or four obligatory starter courses on drawing and painting. And then, one course organized by the department of Autonoom at De Rietveld.

I shiver at titles such as “seven rules of abstract painting” or “twelve rules to be a successful painter”. There are enough limitations already in my life, more artistic boundaries are not needed. Are these rules like check boxes where if all are checked, you have painted an abstract painting or are a successful artist?

Is there one rule set for what makes an abstract painting or are there more? Is it time bound, culture bound or is there a universal rule? Rules about composition, palette and so on can be explored and opened up to new insights. I value technique and I practice and learn almost every day with great joy. I also make “mistakes” and discover interesting combinations or techniques or concepts of sorts. To break the rule, unknowingly, is to me a natural part of learning and progressing, or failing and then learn from that again.

Why put the brakes on creative expression with rules? The world changes and one possible reason to produce art is to reflect on this ever-changing world. To be stuck in a rigid thinking process of “how it should be” in an environment of change seems counter-intuitive. Rather, encourage the learning of skill, the learning of inquiry and criticism and, the learning of logic and deduction. Each of those are not or hardly present anymore at our educational institutions.

Perhaps outside art is not such a bad thing after all.