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Quote and Credit

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Annual I'm not at the Outsider Art Fair 2017 post. Are Cartoonists Outsider Artists? Elizabeth Stohn and Fred Johnson












These drawings were done from 1918 to 1919 by Elizabeth Stohn.  Ms Stone was a child at the time, and was something of a "cross-category" artist.  Part Schoolgirl art, part naive, part trained (as she had just completed her "art school training" by correspondence school. )  Certainly not what is generally considered "outsider" art, though that term is pretty widely applied as far as I can tell.  These are folky and charming, but not really folk art either.  Outsider Art? Nah.
 

While thousands of women studied art and (like Ms. Stohn) aspired to be an artist, even naming early woman artists is hard.  They were screwed over ever since they were here in every field.  Why should art (or comics, for that matter) be the domain of men?  Plus, here is a secret…they were often better than the men and never received the credit.  They were lost and laboring as "anonymous" in quilting, needle-point, and other acceptable near domestic arts.   

Labels appropriate to Ms. Stohn could maybe include "rebel" too.  I have written about her life and how she was one of the first women to use "thought and caption" balloons.  That post sorta went mini-viral in the comic book world, being picked up by comic historians and suchThe Comics journal linked to it as well. One day I hope to scan her entire "graphic novel"  From Poverty to Luxary (sic)

I remember respected art scholar and dealer Randall Morris saying something like "Cartoonists have their own school, they aren't outsider artists" and I don't differ with him.  Still there are many standards being applied on the walls of the outsider art fair, and each show will continue the mixed blessing of being labeled as an outsider. 

"I know it when I see it" was used to describe pornography by Justin Potter when ruling in a landmark obscenity case heard by the Supreme Court in 1964. I am pretty sure he threw his hands up when he said it.  "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it..." he said.  We should avoid that esteemed opinion when evaluating outsider art.  


A wonderful group of  "comic books" were one of discoveries at the last Outsider Art Fair.  I'll guess he took some courses too, but it is a guess.  Dan Nadel would be the person to ask. I sure would love to see them, but as I say, I wasn't there. 

(There was another Johnson (real name Ferd or Ferdinand Johnson) working at the same time in Chicago, and he became quite well-known among other cartoonists.  Same fellow? I can't tell…I didn't go go cartoonist school! (joke)  It was certainly not the same fellow,  but neither of them were being "obsessive" about drawing.  They were just doing what comic book artists do.  That would be filling page after page with drawings.  Ask Gary Panter, a great artist who is not an outsider.  He published a massive book containing his sketchbooks.  Read the great essay on Frank, the outsider HERE by Dan Nadel.  There were other great cartoon artists (Basil Wolverton, Windsor McCay for example) and there were plenty of bizarre comic strip artists who were visionaries.  Mr. Nadel knows his stuff…See the magnificent volumes he put together on some HERE. Any library specializing in any art must have these two books.  Like the books displayed at the last outsider art fair, he reveals dozens of quirky and magnificently talented artists, be they self-taught or not.


Ponder on what an outsider artist is, and if the work you are appraising fits some arbitrary non-definition like Justice Steven's frustrated legal opinion of smut, ponder more. Everyone has their own concept. But can we agree, at least, that if one went to art school, he isn't an outsider?  Outsider Art...I know it when I see it.

Other articles in the I'm Not at the Outsider Art Fair series are HERESee also two books on Folk art Outsider art by the writer Jim Linderman HERE and HERE.

African-American Folk Art Sculpture Joe Louis c. 1940 Sewer Tile Clay




Joe Louis, the Brown Bomber folk art sculpture made of clay. Joe was active in the late 1930's to the late 1940's.  Born in Alabama and moved to Detroit after being visited by a gang of the Klan. Let's not let that happen again.  Best known for his professional record, but also for standing up for civil rights all his life.  In 1934, Louis won his first professional title (for which he earned $59.00) and went on to win all 12 of his fights in 1934, ten by knockouts.
THANKS TO NATALIE CURLEY ANTIQUES

Joe Lewis clay sculpture Circa 1940  Collection Jim Linderman

GAWD I had an Art NIGHTMARE Original Painting 1913


GAWD I had a NIGHTMARE  Original Painting 1913 collection Jim Lindermanhttp://dulltooldimbulb.com

The BEST Valentines Homemade, Hand Drawn and BITTER










Cutest little Valentine's Day Cards I have ever seen...and I met the artist!  The woman selling them told me she made them as a young schoolgirl after I bought 'em.  Makes these little bundles of bitter about 50 years old.  I am really glad she kept them. 

Three vintage handmade Valentines circa 1960 Collection Jim Linderman

Dull Tool Dim Bulb is TEN Years old!




The site is ten years old.  There is no big whizbang shindig to celebrate, as I am working on a book.  There ARE a hundred or more people to thank. Lauren Leja, Natalie Curley and Shannon Regan in particular have contributed objects and ideas over the years.   ALL the followers are appreciated, many of them artists and art dealers, antique dealers and pickers.  Folks who "get it" and let me know they do.  Some of the brightest people I know and admire have found the site.

Most encouraging is the mail I have received from relatives, friends and such who have written me over the years and add to my stories.  Being thanked for writing about forgotten folks they knew, they married or grew up with. It is humbling.  For example, the post I did on obscure bluegrass and country performer Rem Wall.  Nearly FIFTY comments from folks who remember or knew him. What an honor it is to receive such feedback.

My wife Janna lets me do it.  Not everyone has a wife who allows their husband to dwell in curious places and sully his reputation with risque images once in a while.  I get to.  


There are a few special friends.  The late Jay Tobler, one of the smartest people I have ever known.  Robert Reeves, who shared my interests and made me laugh like no one else.  Jimmie Allen, A golden Southern Picker who influenced one of my most successful books.  Steve Slotin, a hero. Craig Yoe, the world's greatest comic art scholar and collector. Lance Ledbetter and Dust to DigitalBrian Wallis and the International Center of Photography.  Tanya Heinrich and the American Folk Art MuseumThe fascinating Dire McCain at Paraphilia published some of my favorite pieces. I could go on and on.  Lisa Hix at Collectors Weekly has been wonderful and written about a few of my
projects.

I can't thank enough the folks who took the time to write about the site and my projects.  Many of them are found on the side banner.  The banner is not often seen on a smartphone, so I am copying them here.  Since I don't make any dough on any of this really.  I am lucky to break even...so the words mean so much.

The people and publications who took the time to write about me have made what I do legitimate.  It is and was liberating and encouraging.  This list is again far from complete, but I truly never thought I would "receive press" and boy, have I had lovely things said about me.  Here are links to those to whom I am in debt.

"Linderman produces the most sublime books on dreamy, arcane subjects, sexy stuff, too, all with rare one-of-a-kind images." Craig Yoe 2017

"...disclosing an underground history of American popular culture one oddball tale at a time"
John Strausbaugh in The New York Times

 
"...one of the blog writers to watch for"
ARTSlant

"...wonderful, extraordinary, fascinating, remarkable and profound" Fans in a Flashbulb International Center of Photography Museum 2016

"Brilliantly Astute, Acerbic and Aesthetic Jim Linderman"
The Museum of Everything 2014

"Dull Tool Dim Bulb is always worth a visit" THINGS Magazine 2016

"...grumpy..." The Austin Chronicle 2014

"Perpetually ahead of the collecting curve...a one man Taschen. An authentically curious individual...diligently archiving the forgotten curiosities of American History"

Emma Higgins in Art Hack May 2012

"Jim Linderman likes Art, Antiques and Photography and his collection of Vernacular Photography, Folk Art, Ephemera and Curiosities is a wonderful place..."
LifeElsewhere with Norman B. 2014

"...collected over the years by Jim Linderman, a character who seems the perfect subject for a Harvey Pekar comic. Linderman treats collecting like a calling, and his finds have a resulting air of authority, stunning in their capture of bygone picturesque moments."
Derek Taylor Dusted

"The pictures, discarded artifacts of ecstatic Americana, come from the stash of Jim Linderman, who in his introduction recalls advice he’s plainly taken to heart: “Collect the heck” out of whatever you find interesting."
Drew Jubera Paste Magazine

"His interest in art is rivaled only by his interest in music, and one expression informs the other. He pursues objects with thoroughness and an innate sense of curiosity..."
Tanya Heinrich Folk Art Magazine


"Linderman acknowledges the obscure at the same time that he elevates it.... His collections tell vast stories in sotto voce, allowing curios and objects shadowed by mainstream culture and ideology to converse and be heard. What we hear is an enormous American sub-culture speaking in forbidden, marginalized languages: stuff discovered boxed in the attic out of embarrassment or zealotry, smutty ash trays crowing next to religious pamphlets, each claiming a part of the complex, sometimes contradictory, always conflicted American imagination, a chaos of memories that will one day vanish."
Joe Bonomo Author of Conversations With Greil Marcus, Jerry Lewis Lost and Found and No Such Thing As Was

"...he's one of the world's greatest pickers."
Brian Wallis in The New York Times
"Documenting--one clipping at a time--the scrapbook of a leg and garter aficionado that was dumpster-dived in Virginia in the 60s" "...an outstanding image-archaeologist who has compiled a shelf-ful of worthy and unique photographic histories."
William Smith Hang Fire Books


"Linderman has a knack for discovering untold stories and introducing them to a wider audience"
Joey Lin Anonymous Works

"Jim Linderman...makes us all look a little puny"
Could it be Madness-this?

"...insatiable collector of ephemera and ringleader behind an incredible circus of blogs — including the treasure trove dull tool dim bulb"
The Cynephile

"Yo no sé ustedes pero creo que es uno de los mejores sitios que he visitado en mucho tiemp"
Color Me in Blog

"...there's something beyond the endless photos and postcards and weird propaganda from another time that he lovingly documents - I think it's the collection as a whole, the portrait of a person fascinated with culture and communication. I have met people like this before, and in reading Dull Tool Dim Bulb I feel I have been lucky enough to meet one more. This site is a goldmine in terms of links..."
The Hyggelic Life October 2009

"Linderman is always on the lookout for the new and exciting"
Chuck and Jan Rosenak Contemporary American Folk Art

"...an amazing collection..."
Revel in New York October 2009

"Jim Linderman has a nice little colllection of interesting books and blogs...But every so often he just loses it."
American Digest March 2010

"FOR MOST OF HIS LIFE, COLLECTOR JIM LINDERMAN has searched high and low for authentic things--unique and special objects that define the artistic culture of the American experience. From folk art to popular culture, from pulp fiction to Delta Blues-- Jim is a walking authority on so many things American they are too numerous to mention. One thing is certain-- his collecting interests are for things that have fallen through the cracks, those things lost and forgotten--the box of material under the table at the flea market booth. If it wasn't for dedicated collectors like Jim Linderman-- so many important objects about our culture would have surely been lost to time and indifference."

"Jim Linderman maintains a most interesting blog about the most amazing things from his collection—a site he calls “Dull Tool Dim Bulb,” the only curse words his father ever uttered. I love it, and read it everyday."
"...an excellent writer and I devour your blog daily. I am impressed at your deep knowledge of things within your niche..."
John Foster Accidental Mysteries
 

"I am grateful to Jim Linderman for first alerting me to the existence of the 1930s Spiritualist hymn "Jesus is My Air-o-plane."
William Fagaly New Orleans Museum of Art, Author Tools of her Ministry: The art of Sister Gertrude Morgan

"Linderman describes a long gone world...(he) claims not to be a writer but he is most certainly an excellent researcher..."
BOOKSTEVE

"Jim Linderman, King of the Internet Ephemeral Arts"
Spaniel Rage

"Jim is a fantastic historian...show him some love"
Astrid Daley Fringe Pop / Sin-A-Rama

"He came to us with hundreds of jaw-dropping baptism photos that he'd been collecting for 25 years," Ledbetter explains. "By the time he found us, he'd already done half a lifetime's works, and he trusted us to handle it properly." Lance Ledbetter in Creative Loafing 10/13/11


Thank you all so very much.  Everyone needs a hobby.  I am so grateful for mine.

Odd Fellows Ark of the Covenant Folk Art Needlework from a Banner





Odd Fellows Ark of the Covenant Folk Art Needlework fragment from a banner.
No date.  Collection Jim Linderman

Antique Folk Art Child's Needlecraft Dove and Text


Antique Folk Art Child's Needlecraft.  Two pieces 1905.  Dove and Christmas Message.  Collection Jim Linderman

Art Car ! You can Come in Praying if this van is Swaying Jesus Freak Van




You can Come in Praying if this van is Swaying  Jesus Freak Van circa 1990 original photographs Jim Linderman

Antique American Folk Art Wood Carving Woman in Pink Sweater




Antique American Folk Art Wood Carving Woman in Pink Sweater.  
Collection Jim Linderman

Justin McCarthy Blond Beauty Self-Taught American Folk Artist



Justin McCarthy "Blond Beauty" Self-Taught American Folk Artist Crayon mounted on wallpaper scraps c. 1920 (Illustrated in the catalog Justin McCarthy Allentown Art Museum 1985.
Collection Jim Linderman

Old Folk Art Carving / Sculpture of a Baby




Old Folk Art Carving / Sculpture of a Baby.  Anonymous, circa 1950?  Collection Jim Linderman

Folk Art Environment Vernacular Architecture Photograph Anonymous



Folk Art Environment Vernacular Architecture Photograph Anonymous.  A grotto-like installation around living quarters.  No date.  Thanks to BOX LOT on Facebook.
See also the 250 page book In Situ: American Folk Art in Place by Jim Linderman

Not Available on Trivago! Vintage Hotel Snapshot of Uncle Sam and his Cabins


No way to compare rates for this patriotic "no tell hotel" once operating somewhere in America....(Or Canada.  See comment at end of post)

Vintage anonymous snapshot, no date. Collection Jim Linderman 
See also IN SITU-AMERICAN FOLK ART IN PLACE

Folk Art Figural Ice Sculpture in Minnesota 1937



An interesting folk art sculpture made from SNOW in St. Paul, Minnesota 1937.  The creation even shows a pair of folk art portraits on the wall!  Figural snow and ice sculpture have been staples of the St. Paul Winter Sports Carnival since 1885, when the city decided to create an ice palace while the prominent Montreal, Canada festival was on lock down for a smallpox outbreak!

An ephemeral folk art sculpture which has melted away.

Many other images of the festival are collected by the Minnesota History Center HERE but this one does not appear.


St. Paul Winter Sports Carnival 1937 Real Photograph Post Card collection Jim Linderman

Similar examples of unusual folk art and sculpture appears in the recent 250 page book IN SITU: AMERICAN FOLK ART IN PLACE by Jim Linderman.  Available in affordable ebook and paperback HERE.

Checkers in Prison Anonymous Watercolor Painting



Checkers in Prison Anonymous Watercolor Painting circa 1955 3" x 4"
Collection Jim Linderman

Antique Folk Art Birds at Water Feeder Sculpture Yard Art


Antique Folk Art Birds at Water Feeder Sculpture Yard Art Collection Jim Linderman

Large Folk Art Carving / Sculpture Articulated Man with Big Feet and Little Hands.


Large Folk Art Carving / Sculpture Articulated Man with Big Feet and Little Hands.  Nearly 22 inches tall.  Figure is wired to "walk" when cranked.  Circa 1940? 
Collection Jim Linderman

Make-Do Primitive Folk Art one drawer Stand / Desk in Original Paint Antique


A beautiful Antique Make-Do Primitive Folk Art one drawer Stand / Desk in Original Paint.  The wood came from a crate used to ship "Noiseless" matches, and the legs are wood branches.  With characteristics of a twig stand, but heightened by original paint in a lovely Green / Robin's egg blue.
34 inches tall.  

Collection Jim Linderman

Victor Joseph Gatto Nude Woman Oil Painting on Board American Outsider Artist



"Most of Gatto's paintings—scenes of everyday life in New York, exotic cultures, historical events, and tropical episodes —are packed with endless detail built up with many layers of minute brushstrokes. Gatto, a bachelor and a former featherweight boxer, lived with his widowed stepmother in the section of New York known as "Little Italy." Painters Elaine and Willem De Kooning lived in the next apartment in the late 1930s, and Elaine De Kooning and other artists encouraged Gatto's painting. His work received critical acclaim through several exhibitions in New York galleries during the 1940s and 1950s, his most productive period."  Lynda Roscoe Hartigan Made with Passion: The Hemphill Folk Art Collection in the National Museum of American Art (Washington, D.C. and London: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990)

Oil on Board c. 1950 Collection Jim Linderman

Gatto in the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gatto papers at Syracuse University  

The Art and Times of Victor Joseph Gatto in the Clarion 1988
Text in full begins on page 58 HERE

Watch your Fingers. Vintage Chinese Fireworks








Watch your Fingers.  Vintage Chinese Fireworks