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The Hand Painted Signs of Joe Light, Memphis TN Southern Folk Artist Original Photographs by Jim Linderman







Joe Light was an African-American man from Tennessee, but he called himself an American Jew.  He spoke his views to the neighborhood by messages posted on his house and shop.  Later, he was encouraged to paint.  Small works are seen mounted on his antique shop, and a number of paintings owned by the Souls Grown Deep collection can be seen here
Original Photographs of Joe Light Environment c. 1993 by Jim Linderman

Cyanotype Machines of Blue






 
Did you know restaurant menus NEVER use blue ink? It is because blue has been shown to decrease the appetite. Think about it. From the Waffle House all the way to the Four Seasons, every shade of bright, vibrant and fresh appears, but blue is a no-no.

in 1842 Sir John Herschel invented the cyanotype, but it was a woman named Anna Atkins who turned it into an art. In one of the most arcane activities I can imagine, and for some curious reason, Dame Atkins decided to collect algae and save them by laying each on light-sensitized paper, creating some 400 images which were published in the first book of photographs. So the very first photograph book was not only published by a woman, it was composed entirely of blue photographs of seaweed. Only 17 copies exist today.

Cyanotypes must be the least expensive photography technique, as the once ubiquitous "blueprints" used by architects and home builders were cyanotypes.


The most extraordinary property of the cyanotype is it's regenerative behavior.
Like a starfish with an arm torn off, they come back! They lose their blue easily, but if a faded cyanotype photograph is stored in a dark environment, a good deal of the original color will return like magic. Maybe we should print money in blue?

Pages from an unidentified book of industrial cyanotypes, no cover or date.  Circa 1920 
Collection Jim Linderman

Liz Renay Bizarre Outsider Artist and Mob Gun Moll


Any artist admired by John Waters is at the very least interesting, he being an informed, if unconventional collector.  This HAS to be especially true if the painter happens to be a former gun moll, showgirl and self-admitted lover of 2,000 men. Her autobiography was titled My First 2,000 Men and while I haven't read it, I believe her. She had two week long marriage at age 15. It set the pattern, but she survived.
Ms. Renay lived a rich life.  She knew and consorted with Mobster Mickey Cohen, and she loved him, I guess.  At least, she loved him enough to help him launder some money which came up during the investigation of the murder of mobster Albert Anastasia.  That is not a small time gangster. That is a gangster when they were bigger than General Motors.  Anastasia was said to have been done in by Crazy Joe Gallo.
 
Liz passed away on January 22, 2007.
One of the best ways to remember Pearl Elizabeth Dobbins, her real name, would be to appreciate the fabulously goofy outsider art paintings she created. There aren't enough paintings by showgirls.

 
Unlike most self-taught naives, Liz eventually went from obscure to big time, finally achieving a major show at adventurous and prestigious art gallery Deitch Projects in New York.  Art snobs like to say an artist's background doesn't have anything to do with their artistic esthetics, painterly qualities and such, but I think Deitch knew a good story when he saw one.

The magnificent exhibition of paintings was put together by the Burlesque Hall of Fame and Deitch. Not only are they huge in scale and scope, they are bizarre and that's great.  That whole "Low-Brow" art movement owes her a debt. The installation was a few years ago, but let's help it keep making some news. It is said she painted 150 works.

View the show HERE, which was installed with numerous objects from her career.  Her work, which sold for a few grand in the 1960s is holding firm...see one for sale at 15 grand HERE

Deitch Projects is HERE. Burlesque Hall of Fame is HERE, and the images are theirs.  A nice slide show also appears HERE on artnet.
My First 2,000 Men is HERE.   

The Horrible Gag Cartoons of Anonymous








The Horrible Gag Cartoons of Anonymous.  Circa 1960.  Collection Jim Linderman

Lair of the Goatman



Free Thinking Christian Mission Headquarters of Chess McCartney the Goatman.  Your call...
Original Postcard dated on reverse 1957.  Jefferson County, Georgia.  
Collection Jim Linderman

GINGY and his Friends!




It's GINGY and his friends.   Thanks and a tip of a Gingy hat to Shannon Regan.

Folk Art Embroidery Pair Risque Man and Woman with Trapunto Butts



Trapunto is the technique of padding sections of a textile to create a puffy, stuffed decorative feature.  These "morning ritual" padded butts qualify!  Matching hand towels.  Man holds razor, woman a powder puff.  Circa 1950.  Collection Jim Linderman

Home Visit from a Burlesque Queen c. 1950 Original Photographs





Home Visit from a Burlesque Queen and her trunk of changes.  Group of original photographs, circa 1950.  Collection Jim Linderman

August Mack makes a Serpent! Giant Folk Art Snake



A giant devil rattlesnake acts up through the power of Satan (and electricity running through the conduit pipe) which brings him life!   It's Augie Mack's giant automaton!  The powerful creation of Mr. Mack weighed 300 pounds. The blog post HERE tells as much of the story as is known. 

April Fools Day Pair of Press Photographs 1937




April Fools Day Pair of Press Photographs 1937.  Embellished by Hand.
Collection Jim Linderman

Occupational Vintage Photo: Whiskey Still, Worker and Fiddle


Occupational Vintage Photo: Whiskey Still, Worker and Fiddle.  Circa 1900.  
Collection Jim Linderman

Best Film Opening Ever? Crime Without Passion























  
THIS is how to open a film.  Above is an original still photograph from the stunning opening of the film Crime Without Passion being produced.  Enjoy this clip...and marvel.  Film making at the highest level, and 85 years ago.  Still 8 x 10 promotional photograph collection Jim Linderman

Folk Art Morton Salt Girl. Early 20th Century Appropriation of Brand Images Outsider Art



Here, Dorothy Hudgens recreates the Morton Salt Girl (invented 1914) in her presumably school age manner. The piece comes from a folder dated 1926.  Dorothy Hudgens lived with two artistic sisters. All were pretty good!  Still I wonder about branding young children. 

Outsider art fans might be interested in this piece by the artist James Castle.  Same time period, same salt?  James Castle piece is taken from the web, I am afraid I don't know who owns the work.
 
Collage c. 1925 Dorothy Hudgens.  Collection Jim Linderman.  
Thanks to Natalie Curley Antiques.

Harry Bentz Cowboy Artist / Western Folk Artist









 Among outsider art enthusiasts, The phrase "real deal" comes up often. Those who have become familiar with the material know what it means.  It could be a certain look to the work. It can also be as much the artist's motivation as skill. Harry Bentz is what once would have been called the work of a Sunday painter or a folk artist.  An amateur. Maybe he was an American primitive.  Maybe not.    

Actually the most accurate label would be Cowboy Artist. Mr. Harry Bentz was the real deal when it came to roping, riding and even mining. A real cowboy who made art. Untrained, but highly motivated to learn and create. 

There are a few brief biographies. My guess is that Bentz found himself some time and started using it to make art. In the 1960s he painted what could be some 200 works. Along the way, he learned that through some primitive xerox (ayup) and a goofy photo stat process of some sort (ayup) he could make editions!  Of a sort. The cowboy took advantage of modern technology available to the common man.  Again speculating, I believe the artist wanted something to sell in a rack alongside his paintings at events.  How many of these could range into the hundreds.

As with many primitive painters, he used found material to paint on. Some were uneven, large boards.  Many of the sketches are on the reverse of used paper from the Bureau of Mines.   

Apparently Bentz was working on a book.  Among his papers are handwritten captions for "Sketches of the West" which would have been 60 pages.


The drawings would not have been shown art fairs, but at western events. In some ways, as far outside of the contemporary art world as one can be.  He fished, hunted, broke horses, played the guitar and took out pack teams as a hunting guide. In 1951 he became a member of the Rodeo Cowboys Association. He began serious painting while working on a ranch near Kennewick, Washington. Reflected in his work is the life he lived.
 
All paintings and drawings collection Jim Linderman.