Artist/Illustrator of the Week – Henry Darger

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Henry Darger

Henry Darger, was “discovered” after his death in 1973 with a 15 000 page manuscript In the Realms of the Unreal (if that sounds familiar it’s because he is referenced by other artists and musicians including Sufjan Stevens and Natalie Merchant). The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion includes several hundred paintings and drawings. His work straddles that interesting space between Outsider Art and Illustration as most of his paintings accompany his book with it’s story of the Vivian Girls, seven sister princesses, who charge a rebellion against the evil Glandelinians on an imaginary planet that the Earth orbits. He was incredibly empathetic towards children, being somewhat child-like himself and in his childhood probably suffering from ill-treatment at the hands of a Mission home and later on an asylum, and this empathy extends to both his story and his imagery. His work now sells for the highest price of any self-taught artist and he is the most famous of the “outsider artists”. Personally I have trouble with the term “outsider artist” – perhaps all artists/creative people have a streak of it and it is just the degree to which one is socially acceptable which makes one an “outsider” or not…

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Henry Darger
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Henry Darger