Outsider contributions are too often overlooked in the seemingly impenetrable art world. By definition, outsider art is any art that is created by someone without formal art training who remains uninvolved in the mainstream art establishment. But for the purposes of this post, we are going to focus on a specific faction of outsider art: art created by individuals with developmental, physical, and intellectual disabilities (DD/ID). As artists with DD/ID experience no pressure from the art establishment to produce, no pressure to compete, and no pressure to be more original, each piece is the result of pure inspiration without any motive other than to create.
We really can't say enough about our overwhelming love for this type of outsider art. It's boldly and unapologetically creative, exhilaratingly genuine, and often very reasonably priced. The pieces bring something truly special: art made by artists with DD/ID is profound in a way that most art we see isn't. Because they are separated from the art world, artists with DD/ID are expressive in a refreshingly unrestrained way as the stifling pressures associated with the art establishment aren't causing them to second-guess their artistic choices.
While these artists are living with DD/ID we want to make clear that there is no lack of glorious artistic talent in this community. These artists have both innovatory vision as well as impressive technique and as such we love both representative and abstract pieces by outsider artists. They often develop unique voices complete with preferred color palettes, mediums, and application techniques that create distinctive and recognizable portfolios.
Take the massive painting (roughly 5ft wide) created by the brilliant Katie Carcieri that we've included at the top of this page. Carcieri is a powerfully joyful person and her work,not surprisingly, reflects this with overflowing color and flourishing florals. Her work is described as "depict[ing] one true thing: what the inner soul of a happy individual looks like"(1) and we can feel this genuine delight when we are fortunate enough to be in the presence of any of her paintings. Hopefully, after reading that last sentence, you are longing to own one of her pieces! Who wouldn't want a glimmer of that joy in their home?
Nearly all cities have organizations that offer adult education and care programs to people with disabilities and, more often than not, art is involved. Contact an organization near you to inquire about art shows. We've found that facilities often host holiday art fairs where you can meet the talented artists and peruse works in a gallery setting.
All the photos in this post are of pieces from our personal collections! Not only are they beautiful but they offer a very unique positive energy to our walls. If you haven't explored the outsider art world we couldn't recommend it more! We have found most art of this kind is priced under $300 so there are no barriers to owning and enjoying magnificent pieces by artists with DD/ID.
Please know that we never buy outsider art as an act of charity; we do so solely because we truly feel it's our privilege to experience works created by such unguardedly genuine people.