Folk art

Folk art

Overview

Folk art encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople. In contrast to fine art
Fine art
Fine art or the fine arts encompass art forms developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than practical application. Art is often a synonym for fine art, as employed in the term "art gallery"....

, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic.. Folk Art is characterized by a naive style, in which traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not employed.
Closely related terms are Outsider Art, Self-Taught Art and Naive Art.

As a phenomenon that can chronicle a move towards civilization yet rapidly diminish with modernity, industrialization, or outside influence, the nature of folk art is specific to its particular culture.
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Folk art encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople. In contrast to fine art
Fine art
Fine art or the fine arts encompass art forms developed primarily for aesthetics and/or concept rather than practical application. Art is often a synonym for fine art, as employed in the term "art gallery"....

, folk art is primarily utilitarian and decorative rather than purely aesthetic.. Folk Art is characterized by a naive style, in which traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not employed.
Closely related terms are Outsider Art, Self-Taught Art and Naive Art.

As a phenomenon that can chronicle a move towards civilization yet rapidly diminish with modernity, industrialization, or outside influence, the nature of folk art is specific to its particular culture. The varied geographical and temporal prevalence and diversity of folk art make it difficult to describe as a whole, though some patterns have been demonstrated.

Characteristics


Characteristically folk art is not influenced by movements in academic
Academic art
Academic art is a style of painting and sculpture produced under the influence of European academies of art. Specifically, academic art is the art and artists influenced by the standards of the French Académie des Beaux-Arts, which practiced under the movements of Neoclassicism and Romanticism,...

 or fine art circles, and, in many cases, folk art excludes works executed by professional artists and sold as "high art" or "fine art" to the society's art patrons. On the other hand, many 18th and 19th century American folk art painters made their living by their work, including itinerant portrait painters, some of whom produced large bodies of work.

Other terms that overlap with folk art are naïve art
Naïve art
Naïve art is a classification of art that is often characterized by a childlike simplicity in its subject matter and technique. While many naïve artists appear, from their works, to have little or no formal art training, this is often not true...

, Arts Primitive
Tribal art
Tribal art is an umbrella term used to describe visual arts and material culture of indigenous peoples. Also known as Ethnographic art, or, controversially, Primitive Art, tribal arts have historically been collected by Western anthropologists, private collectors, and museums, particularly...

, Pop art
Pop art
Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the mid 1950s in Britain and in the late 1950s in the United States. Pop art challenged tradition by asserting that an artist's use of the mass-produced visual commodities of popular culture is contiguous with the perspective of fine art...

, outsider art
Outsider Art
The term outsider art was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for art brut , a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture; Dubuffet focused particularly on art by insane-asylum inmates.While...

, traditional art, Tribal art
Tribal art
Tribal art is an umbrella term used to describe visual arts and material culture of indigenous peoples. Also known as Ethnographic art, or, controversially, Primitive Art, tribal arts have historically been collected by Western anthropologists, private collectors, and museums, particularly...

, "tramp art", "self-taught" art and even "working class" art. As one might expect, all these terms have different connotations; but they are all at times used interchangeably with the term folk art, for which a satisfactory definition has proven hard to come by.

Folk art expresses cultural identity by conveying shared community values and aesthetics.
It encompasses a range of utilitarian and decorative media, including cloth, wood, paper, clay, metal and more. If traditional materials are inaccessible, new materials are often substituted, resulting in contemporary expressions of traditional folk art forms.
Folk art reflects traditional art forms of diverse community groups — ethnic, tribal, religious, occupational, geographical, age- or gender-based — who identify with each other and society at large.
Folk artists traditionally learn skills and techniques through apprenticeships in informal community settings, though they may also be formally educated.

Antique folk art


Antique folk art is distinguished from traditional art in that, while collected today based mostly on its artistic merit, it was never intended to be 'art for art’s sake' at the time of its creation. Examples include: weathervanes, old store signs and carved figures, itinerant portraits, carousel horses, fire buckets, painted game boards, cast iron doorstops and many other similar lines of highly collectible "whimsical" antiques.

Contemporary folk art


Many folk art traditions like quilting, ornamental picture framing, and decoy carving continue to thrive, while new forms constantly emerge. Since the 1960s the embellished bamboo pipe or chillum has become an American folk art form. These pipes are hand made, meant to be used, and often sold by the artists on street corners in places like the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco and the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. As designs these contemporary smoking pipes recall traditional decorated bamboo pipes from Africa and Borneo, however, the American carved bamboo design often employs a brass lighting fixture for a bowl. Since the 1970s, street artist Darrel "Pipeman" Mortimer of San Francisco has made nearly 10,000 bamboo pipes with incised, tattoo-like lines, each signed, numbered, and sold personally. Hemp is a frequent motif while Native American themes and designs reminiscent of Victor Vasarely
Victor Vasarely
Victor Vasarely was a Hungarian French artist whose work is generally seen aligned with Op-art.His work entitled Zebra, created by Vasarely in the 1930s, is considered by some to be one of the earliest examples of Op-art...

 or M. C. Escher
M. C. Escher
Maurits Cornelis Escher , usually referred to as M. C. Escher , was a Dutch graphic artist. He is known for his often mathematically inspired woodcuts, lithographs, and mezzotints...

 are also common.

Contemporary folk artists are frequently self-taught while their work is often developed in isolation or in small communities across the country. The Smithsonian American Art Museum
Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is a museum in Washington, D.C. with an extensive collection of American art.Part of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum has a broad variety of American art that covers all regions and art movements found in the United States...

 houses over 70 such artists.

See also


External links