Outsider Art or Neo Expressionism?

Recently someone asked me over lunch, “What Style would you call your art?”

That sent me on a two evening Odyssey of searching different artists on the Internet to try to compare my work and see which category I feel I best fit into.

I looked online, as you do for everything now, on Pinterest.

Pinterest can be like going down a rabbit hole slipping and falling. I feel like Alice when it happens. Click on one picture then scroll up to see a whole bunch more related to it…click, scroll….click, scroll…two hours later you’re coming up for air….and you’re way far away from where you started! It’s a one stop shop for finding yourself. Just take one look at someone’s “Boards” and you get a good idea of who they want to be…not necessarily who they are right now but it’s very aspirational. Like a digital vision board for the soul.

Outsider art is a whole world unto itself. The freedom, the emotion and the colour! Those are the things I love so much about it. Self taught artists, not a part of the traditional art world. Painting for the love of it and needing to get their feelings down in whatever way feels best. Originally Outsider Art was a term used for artists who were mentally ill and produced childlike work. I can relate to this because I’ve suffered from depression for many years and take medication to even out my brain chemistry making it easier to live a productive life. Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to the work of these people. Birds of a feather etc.

Some of us don’t want to paint landscapes or traditional portraits or still life. Some of us want to poke and prod, provoke and stimulate and even offend! I need my work to make the viewer ask what the heck was going on in this artists head? I need to know what’s going on in my head!

I can also relate to the label “Neo Expressionism”. A style that has been described a rough and emotional using vivid colours. It can get pretty dark and wild. I’m not sure I’m quite there yet but with each piece I paint new things are happening. Some pieces are getting darker and that’s OK. Everything can’t be flowers and sunshine. I wouldn’t want it to be.

I don’t really think I want a label. I don’t fit anywhere. Never have. I’m a bit of a loner. I’m really blunt and a lot of people don’t like that but I can’t stop myself. I don’t really play well with others…well my Husband says so anyway. My Mother says I don’t like rules…she’s right too. I love people but can get overloaded. I actually really love my own company. After all, I’ve got Pinterest.

My lovely Mother looked at the piece in this post and said to me, ” why didn’t you just write the word Mother over the devils head?” I almost snorted my tea right out of my nose. Painting it was very cathartic on many levels. It’s called “Devil On My Shoulder” 18×24 inches Mixed Media on Canvas. Is this the direction my work is going in? I have no idea. Outsider, Neo Expressionist, call it whatever tickles your fancy. I’ll just call it a blast to paint.

Devil On My Shoulder

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