Artist of the moment……….James Castle…..

James Castle was born in Garden Valley, Idaho in the year 1899. Castle is considered by historians to be an “outsider” artist. He didn’t follow the national trends, he created art simply for the purpose of doing so. Castle loved to communicate via art and was deaf and mute. He completed over 20,000 works of art in his lifetime. Many works are on found cardboard, wood, or paper and many times the artist used soot and saliva as his medium of choice rather than a pen or pencil. Many times the found paper is a cut up cigarette box. In addition to painting and drawing Castle produced books and assemblage.

Many of Castle’s works show landscapes or interior scenes.

Price range information: James Castle worked with many found materials and also produced watercolors and works in chalk. Works range from $1,000 to $20,000.

Castle was born deaf-mute and refused to learn how to read or write. Instead he just drew and drew and drew and this was his main form of communication.

Castle is similar to such artists as Martin Ramirez or Yayoi Kusama. Two artists that both spent time in mental health facilities and both used art as a main form of communication and it also seems self therapy. Ramirez came from Mexico to work in the fields and spent much of his life in mental institutions in California where he created works such as the one below out of found paper and for color, used small pieces of melted crayon.


For his education the artist attended the Idaho State School for Deaf and Blind located in Gooding, Idaho.

In this clip we see and here from the friends and family of James Castle.

Another montage of works by James Castle. He produced over 20,000 works over his lifetime.

James Castle passed away in 1977 at the age of 78 years old in Boise, Idaho.

Its always comforting to see someone who just enjoys the process of creating over and over. The fact that he didn’t have store bought materials didn’t impede his desire to draw and paint in the least as Castle completed more than 20,000 works of art over his lifetime.


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