Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Outsider Art and Art Brut? It's a Piece of CAKE Paul K. Schimmack Bakes and Decorates an Astrology Chart

As much as I hate to start a new trend in "outsider art" I present here what was likely the first CAKE made with obsessive scribbles.  The medium?  SUGAR.  So there you go…a visionary piece of cake!  

There is an art to making cakes (and Schimmack was good at it) but when was the last time you saw some Art Brut applied with a frosting bag?  Among the proclamations made of sugary goo is that a trip to Neptune at 60 miles an hour will take over 20,000 years, so eat a big lunch before you go.  The artist/baker also indicates the weight of the moon.

Paul K. Schimmack was a bread and cake maker by trade (he was named Secretary of the Washington Wholesale and Retail Bakers Association in 1910)  As you can see here, his shop "The Lion Bakery" was capable of "40 buns in one minute!"   The building no longer stands. A house was placed there in 1922. Still, if one can say "he is better known" for a guy not known at all…it was his astrology art for which he is best not remembered today.  It is fair to speculate the great share of his work was eaten, but this recent discovery of a second obsessive diagram produced over 100 years ago is a good time to explore what is in the historical record.  This one has missed being included in the record as it was consumed after the picture was taken.

Astrology, of course, is the most intricate and detailed bogus system in the world!  Wiki calls it a pseudoscience, which means not science at all.  It is an early scam and continues to be.  I rank it just ahead of "magnet therapy" and Phrenology…the science of bumps on the head. 

Paul K. Schimmack's work "The Weather Shark Predictor" of paint on tin is now in the Balsley collection and it has appeared in shows, in a 1997 issue of Folk Art Magazine and in at least one catalog.  It is something of a masterpiece.  The artist seemingly registered a print of the piece in 1913 as "a work of art" titled Farmers Morning Glory Chart with the US Copyright Office.  It was published by the Schlesinger Company.  I believe "work of art" means a postcard, as the company was also responsible for the once common"Indian with headdress" postcards, though they did also publish lithographs for wall display. No publisher is indicated on the postcard here of his cake concoction, but it dates to around the same time.

Folk Art Magazine Spring 1997
A more typical image from Schlesinger Brothers Publishers

The Daily Republican (Monongahela, PA) of March 31, 1931 gave Mr. Schimmack a nice feature and asked him for a few predictions. "Inch downpour of rain during May followed by a rainy June. July, August, and September will be moderately dry. During November and October the rainfall will be medium and a general cyclone will strike the eastern states, causing shipwrecks and endangering tall buildings. Schimmack forecasts a general peace-making among all nations with the end of the year 1931.  Several years earlier, the paper had gone to Shimmack for his prediction on the Dempsey - Tunney fight!  Dempsey will enter the sign "with the support of the moon" while Tunney has Mercury behind him. 

In 1927, the Lincoln Star (Nebraska) filled lots of space with his predictions.  They called him a "weather shark" and astrologer.  The numerous, if mundane "crop reports" ran for several inches of copy.  Most notable was a "A big flood In California" and "The lion will show his teeth the first part of March, but that month and April will be relatively springlike."

Schimmack was also apparently the "go-to" guy for the Pittsburgh Press.  They called on his expertise in the January 26, 1932 issue.  "The change In weather will start to be noticeable today or tomorrow, however. Prom then on, there will be blizzards, sleet, snow, rain and ice. Eastern States will be paralyzed. "Coldest days will be Jan. 27, 28, 29, 30 and 31; Feb. 1, 3, 5, 6, 19, 22, 23. 24, 25, 27; March 2, 13. 18, 29, 31; and April 6, 7, 9 and 17." The Washington seer also predicted heavy snows in Pittsburgh and New York Feb. 22, 23 and 24. The groundhog will see his shadow; rivers will be at flood stage about the end of March and this district will experience a "white" Easter Sunday, he said."

He was referred to as the "astrological seer of Washington Pa." and that he had been "observing and charting planets for nearly 50 years…he's delved into histories of floods, cold spells and droughts for as far back as 1832, noting positions of planets for each."  Whew. 

The Spring 1997 issue of Folk Art magazine illustrated Mr. Schimmack's "Weather Shark Astrological Chart" along with a notice of an exhibition at the American Visionary Art Museum.   The piece is in the collection of John and Diane Balsley.  It also appears in the catalog of the exhibition.  A large color image of the piece is available HERE from the Ricco - Maresca Gallery. 

"Illustrative Astronomy" by Paul K. Schimmack  Photo Postcard 1910 Collection Jim Linderman

The Tie brought to its Ultimate Artistic Expression High Quality and Low Politics

 Dreadful Don's ties are not made in America, so Hillary sent her staff out to find manufacturers over here who would gladly have manufactured them.  Calling Trump a hypocrite is like calling Al Capone a purse snatcher…but every little bit helps. 

I have read that ties were invented to show you trusted your adversary. It's pretty hard to offend anyone facing you when either could reach out and strangle the other. Hillary doesn't wear ties. 

The Haband Company in Patterson, New Jersey was founded in 1925. They hand made ties and sold them in local banks. A hit! The company began sending around postcard-like photographs of the product line, and that is what you see here. It led to a clothing and gift company which remains today. They also had a wonderful description of the product. "The process is not secret or exclusive to Haband. Others just don't take the trouble to develop its possibilities to its ultimate artistic expression." Nicely put. 

Remarkable and beautiful neckware, and the company appears to have been built without the help of organized crime (Unlike the Dreadful Don's construction enterprises!) 

Set of Haband Tie promotional photos No Date (circa 1940?) Collection Jim Linderman

Brick Clay Miniature Brick Fund Raising Gimmick and the Church of Herman Bridgers Rocky Mount North Carolina

A church needs a strong foundation, but it also needed lots of brick walls!  So the Rocky Mount Methodist Church sold tiny red bricks to raise construction funds.  This little fella is about the size of a quarter.  If ever a church needed a building, it was this united Methodist group...here they are prior to the fund (and roof) raising gathering for worship at Overton's BBQ Restaurant!
I think I ATE there once!  I asked where the best sauce was, and someone sent me there.  I'm a vegetarian, but I ate the sauce on a potato and on white bread.  

Rocky Mount was also the town with MY favorite church. That would be the magnificent one gravedigger Herman Bridgers built nearby with his bare hands.  You can read my tribute at the link.  His church moved me so much, I wrote about it. Now, I've written about another!  I seriously doubt any of the congregants above ever went to Herman's church, but they would have met the most devout man in Rocky Mount. You can see how the Methodist church turned out here.  Herman Bridgers drew his church too...and it is now in the collection of the Asheville Art Museum.
Herman Bridgers Drawing of his church Asheville Art Museum

Vintage Miniature Red Brick Fund Raising Novelty collection circa 1964  collection Jim Linderman

19th Century Folk Art Tombstones in Michigan

19th Century Folk Art Tombstones in Michigan  Photographs by Jim Linderman

Anonymous Folk Art Wood Carving of a Native American

VERY fine cult braids (unbroken) on an undated Native American folk art wood carved bust.
Date unknown, Collection Jim Linderman

Antique Folk Art Sculpture Statue of Liberty in Antique Week Magazine

Folk Art Statue of Liberty from the Jim Linderman collection is featured in the July 11, 2016 issue of Antique Week.  Article by Susan Emerson Nutter.  Antique Week is HERE

Homemade Handmade Book The Tenth Commandment 19th Century Folk Art Book

Manilla paper was developed in the 19th century and used as a cheap material for children's art projects.  This handmade book was bound with a piece of string.  I believe the Sunday school kids were "helped along" with numbers already scored, which was cut then laid out and glued by children.

19th Century Ten Commandments handmade book Collection Jim Linderman

Thanks to Curley's Antiques

See also the companion Blog old time religion

Invisible Commute Photographs by Lauren Leja Review and More

© Lauren Leja Invisible Commute

© Lauren Leja Invisible Commute
Photographer (and writer) Lauren Leja works with her eyes, her feet and her smartphone.  Like many, she travels to work every day.  For Ms. Leja is it a particularly long commute, and a good share of it is walking on the streets of Boston.  Leja's commute is by bus, subway and trudge. While most commuters rest in a fog until their stop, she is alert as a native tracker.  See sees things others do not.  They become her subjects.  This has been her pursuit for a decade.

The result is small and perfectly framed spontaneous moments.  Her still lifes are temporal and extemporaneous,  Lauren brings the same discipline of her work routine to her silent tiny masterpieces.  For years I have encouraged Lauren to collect them, either in print or on the web.  Finally, her new book Invisible Commute celebrates what I have been fortunate, at times, to find in my mailbox.

I was proud to write the introduction to Invisible Commute.  I am equally thrilled to see them collected in print!  Each layout page is visual symmetry and each image is a small puzzle of sorts.

At this time, I believe Lauren Leja is selling the book in select locations around Boston, but the best way to obtain is to write her directly at Invisiblecommute@gmail.com



Currently, each book includes a gift, and it is a good one! The limited edition is best ordered directly from Lauren Leja. 

FOR ORDERS AND CORRESPONDENCE: Invisiblecommute@gmail.com


Spanking A Vintage Photograph

It has been called many things, but it ultimately comes down to slapping the buttocks of another.  In this case, the "other" is "the missus"  I guess.  A mongrel waits patiently. 

Anonymous snapshot of a spanking 1949 Collection DULL TOOL DIM BULB

African American Motorcycle Club Pair of Original Polaroid photographs

African American Motorcycle Club Pair of Original Polaroid photographs 
Collection Jim Linderman

Fun with Furzies ! Flocking the Furzie way from Zenith Toys of Brooklyn

We have quite a few artists followers on Dull Tool Dim Bulb, so you might be on the lookout for some Furzie inspired works to show up at your local gallery soon.  FURZIES are "an exciting new style of picture in brilliant colors of breath-taking beauty…WITH A FUR LIKE FEEL!

 "Hello?  It's Larry "Go Go" Gagosian on the phone?  Tell him I'm busy.  The open studio tour is next week."

Zenith of Brooklyn made a few cheap toys in the 1950s for the young members of the baby-boom.  Furzies failed (as this will be the first time it appears on the web) but I'm glad to contribute.  The idea was to paint on some glue (included) and then use the cardboard sifter (included) to sprinkle on colored fur.  I won't open the individual bags to feel the texture, but the kit also includes a SAMPLE hastily made on the production line.

"Dear? How was work today…I wore something special and made your favorite meatloaf?" 

"I must have painted twenty thousand effing furzies…I'm too tired!

The Furzie sample is above.  Of course, the theme is cowboys and indians.  No comment there, but you know.  OH…there is also a tiny easel included to display your flocking set of furies!  "Flocking" is noted on the box cover.  It is the process of depositing many small fiber particles (called flock) onto a surface."  Another reason not to open them.  Mask NOT included.

Zenith Have Fun with Furzies Cowboys and Indians Flocking Set circa 1955 Zenith Toy Company Brooklyn, NY  Collection Jim Linderman

The Amazing Story of Jesse T. Stubbs Monument Builder Orange Tree Promoter and Hero The Road to Peace on 42nd Street

IN 1947, a strange man entered a Kansas City pawn shop and left with $750 dollars in his pocket.  He had pawned an amazing book.  It was handmade and two feet long, covered in the finest red leather, encrusted with jewels and titled "Orange Blossoms Over America."  The author, and the man pawning the book was Jesse T. Stubbs. The book was locked and encased in a box a foot thick.
There were 13 stones.  Diamonds, rubies and sapphires.  Mr. Stubbs told the pawn owner he needed money to travel to Washington.  He said he would return in a few months to reclaim the book.  He never did.

Two years later, Pawn owner Phil Tobias had a duplicate key made to open the book, and the story of Mr. Stubbs was revealed.

Once a wealthy man, Mr. Stubbs had lost it all during the stock crash of 1929.  His wealth had apparently come from prospecting and then selling securities. He also obtained a small orange grove and began tending orange trees as a hobby.  At some time, an accident left him unable to straighten up…hit by a steam shovel.

Stubbs came upon a notion.  He decided to spread orange trees to every corner of the country.  He uprooted a tree and planted in on the back of a trailer and began his travels.  He reached too many cities and states to count.  Ending up in NYC, he built a large glass encased box for his orange tree.   He took a job as a parking attendant to pay for the project and to protect his tree.  The parking lot, (apparently the very same one Kramer on Seinfeld found a condom in George Costanza's car) was on 12th Avenue and 42nd street.  By 1939, his tree was living in a corner of the lot.  The glass for the case came from discarded window glass.  Below is Jesse's Orange tree standing in the shadow of the New York Skyline, a detail from the painting above.

At one time in Jesse's life, he took a break from tending the tree to walk to Alaska.  The famed humorist Will Rogers and his buddy Wiley Post were killed in an airplane crash in 1935, and the tree-tending parking lot attendant had a "retroactive" vision of sorts…he decided to travel to Alaska and build a memorial to Will Rogers 15 years after their plane went down in the most remote area of the state.  At the time, Stubbs was 72 years old.  He made it to Anchorage, but the last 850 miles would be tough.  He left with a 60 pound Siberian husky named Quacco pulling an 80 pound sled.  They made nearly 450 miles on their own, and upon reaching Fairbanks and he accepted a plane ride to the site in Barrow, Alaska.
There ARE powerful miracles made by man, and Jesse Stubbs not only made it to the crash site, he completed his stone and concrete monument to Will and Wiley!   The statue, an obelisk ten feet tall with four square blocks was completed.  it is still accessible only by airplane.

The "more official" monument gets most of the attention, but here is Jesse's on the right, still standing, in a photograph from the National Register of Historic Places.

Jesse Stubbs passed away in 1960 at the age of 81. 

The image above is a real photo postcard  which shows a painting of "The Traveling Memorial" by Jesse Stubbs depicting an orange tree in full bloom that he transported from coast to coast in an exhibit so that people could see the growth of an orange  After V-J Day he decided to exhibit a painting of his exhibit at Times Square in New York City to honor the sacrifices made by the military during WW II.  This card is a photograph of that memorial.  It appears in the book AMERICAN FOLK ART IN PLACE: IN SITU AVAILABLE HERE.  The back of the image is below.

 Real Photo Postcard circa 1945 collection Jim Linderman

Antique Blueprint Drawings Staten Island Ferry and Wacky War Machines

Antique Blueprint Drawings.  Staten Island Ferry and Wacky War Machines! We can thank Alphonse Politevin for inventing the blueprint drawing in 1861. He determined a chemical (gerro-gallate) was light sensitive.  It turns blue when exposed!  These splendid examples come from a collection bound by staples.  The group collects numerous transportation examples from the 1920s.  One shows the Staten Island Ferry (which I recognize from the three times I visited Staten Island (in 24 years) while living in Manhattan.  Others reveal cockamamie war machines and a motorcycle with a picnic basket.  Let's go motoring!  As you can see, the technique wasn't perfect…still it was the primary technique for copying and sharing diagrams for decades. 

Untitled book of blueprint images (amateur?) circa 1920.  Collection Jim Linderman

William Young Invents the Tiny House Fad 1935! From the book In Situ American Folk Art in Place by Jim Linderman

William Young is shown with his less than regal sleeping accommodations in 1935.  Yes, it is only a pushcart with a bed, but they were desperate times.  Mr. Young attempted to travel from New York to Florida, and I believe he made it.  Note on the side of the cart reads "All Aboard to St. Petersburg Florida" and it appears he brought his wife along!  Note Whirligig on the right chimney, carved bird on the left.
FROM THE BOOK IN SITU AMERICAN FOLK ART IN PLACE by JIM LINDERMAN available in paperback or Instant Download HERE at Blurb.com