Art of a Life Time
March 10, 2015 12:00 PM   Subscribe

So you think you're too old to make significant art. Or have too little training. Or what you want to build will take too long. Or maybe you just want to travel places that'll make your spine tingle. Here are eight artists to make you believe.

Working until her death in 2002, Niki de Saint Phalle built the vast Tarot Garden in Tuscany over a period of 20 years.

Simon Rodia spent 33 years constructing the Watts Towers. The tallest of the 17 towers rise to nearly 100 feet.

Ross Ward spent over 40 years carving, collecting, and lovingly constructing what is now Tinkertown Museum. Bonus instructions for creating your own bottle wall. (Previously)

The Magic Gardens of Philadelphia took Isaiah Zagar 14 years to complete.

Nek Chand built the giant Chandigarh Rock Garden illegally and in secret. It's now the second most popular tourist destination in India. (Previously)

Helen Martins spent 12 years constructing the amazing Owl House.

Ferdinand Cheval spent 33 years building an incredible palace one stone at a time. (Previously)

Emery Blagdon’s “The Healing Machine” (c. 1950–86), consists of more than 400 separate pieces — paintings on wood, boxes full of found materials, and intricate wire hangings installed in a shed. It has been shown only rarely since his death.

A collection of articles about the history of Outsider Art.
posted by stoneweaver (9 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite
 
Too old? I'm too lazy. Great post, thanks!
posted by josher71 at 12:40 PM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Working until her death in 2002, Niki de Saint Phalle built the vast Tarot Garden in Tuscany over a period of 20 years.

...but the children's nightmares will last for generations
posted by leotrotsky at 12:54 PM on March 10, 2015


Great post! And don't forget about The Orange Show from Houston, TX (which is itself a city with a strong outsider art heritage).

From Wikipedia:
Jeff McKissack, a mail carrier in Houston, Texas, transformed a small suburban lot near his wood frame house into The Orange Show in honor of his favorite fruit. Between 1956 and 1980, when he died, McKissak used common building materials and recycled junk such as bricks, tiles, fencing, and farm implements to transform his home into an architectural maze of walkways, balconies, arenas and exhibits decorated with mosaics and brightly painted iron figures.
It's an astonishing work of commitment and (half-mad) vision that's both delightful and awe-inspiring to behold.
posted by treepour at 1:11 PM on March 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I once had a chance to explore the Preacher's Treehouse, which took 14 years to build and is freaking awe inspiring.
posted by localroger at 1:35 PM on March 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


There were so many artists that I could have added to this post, but I wanted to stop before it spiraled out of control. I hope people keep adding them in the comments. So I can plan my ultimate world tour.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:51 PM on March 10, 2015


Nova Scotian Maud Lewis.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 6:23 PM on March 10, 2015


There's also Don Justo and his Cathedral, which he started building in the early sixties.

This guy's work is pretty amazing, too.
posted by crumbly at 4:35 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ooh! One of my favorite subjects!

I will add two local to me:

Solomon's Castle is a hell of a thing. Self link warning: I wrote an article on it for Florida Fringe Tourism.

One I have yet to visit, but has been on my list forever: the Coral Castle.

Now I'm gonna go through all your links.
posted by frykitty at 1:51 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


House On The Rock is also this kind of thing, but, like, outsider art by way of living down the road from Frank Lloyd Wright.
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:51 PM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


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