Self-Taught Artists You Haven’t Heard Of

This video discusses a range of self-taught artists from art history and contemporary art to provide greater visibility to these artists. Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artists Jordan McCracken-Foster & Lauryn Welch.

41 min. video

Video Walkthrough

  • Bill Traylor started making art from discarded pieces of cardboard he found in his neighborhood when he was in his 80s.
  • David Butler‘s artworks are more than just single pieces. His home was a vibrant collection of his pieces that shine in their context.
  • David Butler created artworks from tin roofing panels that were flattened and shaped with tools as diverse as a meat cleaver, hammer, and more.
  • Ethan Castillo started tabling at conventions when he was 9.
  • Social media and online resources have made it possible for young artists to find mentors in a way that wasn’t possible before.
  • LeSean Thomas got his foot in the door because he was sketching during his job at a shoe store. Someone who saw him sketching connected him to a sibling who worked in the animation industry.
  • There are networking opportunities everywhere. They don’t have to be from other artists or even in an art context, keep your eyes open!
  • Maria Sibylla Merian lived during a time period when women didn’t have access to enrolling in an art academy.
  • Maria Sibylla Merian‘s artworks feel ahead of their time. Her botanical drawings have many narrative elements to them.
  • Art school provides a small percentage of the experience and knowledge that you need as an artist.
  • The time you spend as a working artist is extremely valuable, and cannot be learned within the context of art school.
  • Emery Blagdon created 3D artworks that were “healing machines.”
  • Emery Blagdon worked in relative isolation in Nebraska in his shed constructing these machines from found objects.

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