Posts Tagged ‘folk art’

Artist of the moment….Winfred Rembert

Windred Rembert is an African American artist that works with dye and hand carved leather in his work. Winfred Rembert was born in 1945 in the city of Cuthbert, Georgia. Growing up in the deep south during the civil rights era and also working as a field laborer picking cotton.

His surfaces are quite textured as he draws and etches directly on the leather. Then adds color using various dyes.

A documentary film was made about Winfred Rembert titled “All  Me, ” here is a link to the site:

And below is a brief trailer for the film:

price range information: Sorry none available.

Many works deal with the idea of group labor, but also the celebration of life found in the community and to some extent the bright and colorful clothes worn.  A day of working in the field could earn Rembert around 15 to 20 cents per day.

The artist had a difficult childhood and was raised by an aunt rather than a father or mother.

In this clip the artist gets fired up when talking about a work titled “Amazing Grace.”

Rembert was once in a prison chain gang, and then he made a piece of art out of this experience. In this clip he talks about how awful of an experience it was being in a chain gang with some great examples of his art documenting his experience of the chain gang.

Winfred Rembert is a self taught artist.

Based out of New Haven, Connecticut.


Artist of the moment…..Joseph Whiting Stock

Joseph Whiting Stock was an American artist renown for his work with portraits, especially oilograms as they were known, paintings of dead people and in particular children. Joseph Whiting Stock was born in 1815, some reports say 1818, in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts.

price range information: Most works priced $20,000 to $70,000 and worked in oils and pastels.

What I enjoy most about Stock is that he had to overcome tremendous obstacles just to get by, and yet he persisted in being an artist.  The artist was horribly injured when he was eleven and this accident made him a paraplegic. The artist had a special wheelchair to allow him to travel about to paint.

Below a great clip from my favorite the wonderful Antiques Roadshow. A guest appears with a painting she thought was by another artist. In the end it turns out to be by J.W. Stock.

Never married.

He did keep a journal that I highly recommend for funny insights.

I like to think of Stock as a Victorian era painter for his attention to the way he painted carpets, furniture, children holding small objects, and pets.

Stock was self taught and is sometimes classified in the folk art or primitive art genre.

For his bread and butter income of the oilograms, Stock would spend the winter prepping canvases. He might paint the crib and all but the face. Later he would be asked to do  a commissioned work he would already have 90% of the work finished!

I also think of Stock as a precursor to the hand and foot painters of modern times. People who overcome tremendous difficulties with their motor skills just to make art.

Stock passed away in 1855 at the age of forty after contracting the disease tuberculosis.



Artist of the moment….Madge Gill

Madge Gill was a British artist born in East Ham, Essex to a young mother out of wedlock. Gill is known for her folk/ naive art drawing style. She went to live  in an orphanage at nine years of age. Afterward she was moved to a farm in Canada.

Quite a character Madge Gill married a cousin. The couple had four children but a daughter was a stillborn and child died due to the Spanish influenza epidemic.

The death of her daughter was bad news but then Gill nearly died from an illness that left her blind in one eye.

Supposedly the artist did her best work when she was in a trance like state of being.

She sometimes signed work with the tag ” Myrninterest.” The was the name she gave to the spirit  who inhabited her body when she produced her artwork.

Gill chose not to sell most of her artwork for money, she was afraid it might anger the spirits that helped her produce her wonderful art.

Price range information: Sorry none available. Most of her work is in private collections or owned by the London borough of Newham.

After her daughter was dead the artist came to experience a deepening in spirit. She tried to bring this forth in her artwork.

Here we visit our dear friend James Kalm for a trip showcasing works by the artist. I encourage you to watch the entire clip, but Madge Gill works starts showing at the 7:54 mark into the clip.


Arts in the prison scene…..Inez Walker, Leonard Peltier, and Ray Materson

First off sorry for the length of this article but I found these artists to be fascinating not only for their artwork, but for their personal histories!


Inez Walker and Leonard Peltier were both found guilty in a court of law for murdering someone and both turned to art as a therapy and outlet during their time in prison. Ray Materson also spent a significant amount of prison where he picked up needlework.

This first set of pictures belong to the artist Inez Walker. Walker led a hard life. She was born into  poverty in Sumter, South Carolina in the year 1911. Her family gave her up and she became an orphan at a young age. At age sixteen she married, had some children, and moved to Philadelphia during a time. In the 1960s she was found guilty of killing a man. It is assumed the man beat her often, but she ended up in the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for negligent homicide. She took an art class and began to draw, also an attempt to isolate herself from the rough and tough girls of the prison.

Inez Walker was released in 1972. Many works deal with the bad girls of the prison! She got married again in 1975 and passed away quietly in 1990. She was excited to share her art with anyone that wished to see it.

Inez Walker has works in Museums in the United States, Switzerland, and France.

A link to a great website telling the story of Inez Walker.


Leonard Peltier was a leader in the A.I.M. or American Indian Movement in the 1970s. Peltier was born in 1944 and was raised mainly by grandparents in North Dakota. He would eventually live in Seattle, Washington and own an auto mechanic shop. Peltier joined a movement called A.I.M. American Indian Movement. On a reservation in South Dakota a newly elected President Richard Wilson, was seen to have gotten the job via intimidation, violence, and even starting a private militia to intimidate voters.

Wilson stood trial but was not found guilty to the dismay of Peltier and other members of his movement. This led to back and forth incidents in which more than sixty A.I.M. members were killed in a few short years. Even the federal government got involved.

In 1976 some F.B.I. agents went looking for a suspect on the Pine Ridge Reservation wanted for assault and theft. After locating the vehicle they came under intense fire. The agents called in for backup and waited. No help came in time and the shooters were able to get off more than 120 shots. Peltier was one of the shooters and started to flee across the country landing on the F.B.I.s most wanted list. He would eventually end up in Canada where he was turned in by a female witness later found out to have been told what to say to the court by the F.B.I. men. She was threatened severely. Later it was revealed that she wasn’t at the shooting and didn’t even know Peltier before he fled to Canada.

A great painting by Peltier.


Peltier is serving two consecutive life terms and is still behind bars. He sells paintings to help cover his defense and legal fees.If he wasn’t behind bars I am sure he would be among the most sought after native american painters in the country. I found it interesting the rifle that was key behind his guilty verdict is the same rifle we read about daily in the papers, the AR-15. Below is the car from the shootout with the Feds and Peltier.

Peltier has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize award nine times.


A link to a website featuring art for sale by Leonard Peltier.

In this clip we see some photographs of the artist, a cover for a movie made about the story of Leonard Peltier, and some of his wonderful paintings starting at 43 seconds into the clip. Peltier was able to attain a high level of skill with his paintings which rival those of other famous Native American painters such as T.C. Carson or R.C. Gorman. Peltier is still incarcerated.

Ray Materson began crafting needlework during his stay in prison. Materson was born into a family that had many drugs and alcohol users. He started using himself as a teen. Materson eventually became a cocaine addict and to support his habit stole a toy gun from a retail store and completed many robberies. Materson was found guilty and even then tried to escape from jail! He was caught and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. Whilst there he collected used and dirty socks using them to create his needlework. Upon his release in 1995 the artist has only increased his skill. Some works can contain as many as 1,200 stitches per square inch.



Below a clip from an appearance by Ray Materson on CBS.

A link to Ray Materson’s own website:

Another artist to check out never spent a night in jail, but I love the works of this artist! His name is Martin Wong and this work has to do with tatoos and prison. I have posted about Wong often as he was a key figure in the street/ graffiti art movement, amassed a great collection, then donated it to the city of New York. He passed away in 1999 of A.I.D.S.


Andy Warhol did some wonderful works with this theme including the movie Prison. Prison was a film that featured such Andy Warhol All Stars as Edie Sedgwick and Sandy Kirkland. The story was about tales that happen while behind bars as was told to Andy by Bibbe Hanson.



Artist of the moment…….Mario Sanchez….

Mario Sanchez was an artist who flourished during the mid 1900s with his works that dealt with living life in the wonderful and very colorful Florida keys. Sanchez was born October the 7th in the year  1908  and spent most of his life in the Florida Keys. From the beginning inhabitants in the 1820s until the artist’s passing in 2005, his oeuvre documented his way of life in the Keys for more than one centuries time.


Sanchez passed away in 2005.

In this clip we visit the Gallery Greene in the Florida Keys to seek  out some original works by Mario Sachez. His works appear about 1 minute 50 seconds into the clip.

Grandma Moses was a great artist that didn’t start painting until her old age made her give up crocheting. She was skilled as a draftsman with all of her time spent designing quilts and blankets. I enjoy her work for its simplicity and execution. Here is a great example of Grandma Moses’ artistic style.


Another artist working with a folk art style would be Queena Stovall. Stoval took up painting at the age of 62. Stovall was self taught and documented her friends and family in her artwork. Here is a great example of Stovall’s style.


Another artist that has a folk art style would be Mary Michael Shelley. Shelley was born in 1950 and often times using woodcarvings as a final statement of art. An example of Mary Michael Shelley’s artwork below.




I hope you enjoyed this quick look at some folk artists. For those of you in Colorado, its like a Guy Wiggins painting outside today!




Artist of the moment……Grandma Moses….

The artist was born on September the seventh in the year 1860 on a farm in Greenwich, New York.

In an era where Life magazine was the leader in its industry, the magazine featured her on its September 19th cover in 1960 in celebration of her one hundredth birthday!

When I think of Grandma Moses I am reminded of going to the shed and bringing in Christmas lights and decorations. Marketers used her work to advertise the major holidays. She painted wonderful winter scenes with children skating about a new coat of fresh fallen snow.

As you can guess she was highly successful as a commercial artist. Some items that bore her artwork were cigarettes, lipstick, curtains, cookie jars, and dinner ware.

Grandma Moses also won women of the year award from magazines and even manufacturers.

Grandma Moses collection of artwork below set to music.

She came from a family of ten children.  She didn’t marry until the age of  twenty seven, but Moses herself had ten children, but five of them died as infants.  She married a hired hand of the farm. The couple moved to Virginia and started their own farm. Her husband died in the mid 1920s and one of her sons helped her to run the farm. She remained on the farm until old age forced to move in with her daughter in 1936.

When living on a farm you have much down time in which to create things like clothes and paintings. Grandma Moses as a young mother used to embroider. Her pieces were very well received and admird by friends and family. As the artist grew older and hit the age of seventy, Moses developed arthritis and gave up embroidery. A friend suggested she start painting. Thus, a new career and star in the art world was born!  Moses herself said she started painting to make a gift for the postman that was easier to make than embroidery.

The artist was very prolific as a an artist producing more than 1,600 paintings in little more than three decades time.

If this artist isn’t incredible for her life story, she also has quite a story on being discovered. When she first started out she sold her paintings for $2 for a smaller work and $3 for a large painting. An art collector was driving through a city and saw somenworks for sale in a drug store. He bought them all! He then went to the house of Grandma Moses and purchased ten additional works.

The year 1939 she was included in a show about unknown American painters. She gained worldwide critical acclaim over the next couple of years and was highly collected in the art markets outside of the United States.

Moses has a book about her lifestyle titled “Grandma Moses, My Life’s History.”

Grandma Moses passed away in 1961 at the young age of 101 years old!

High price range:  $1.2 million for a work in oils at auction.

low price range: Many prints such as greeting cards available for less than $50.