Outsider art has exploded onto the international art scene, gaining widespread attention for its startling originality and visual power. As an expression of raw creativity, outsider art remains associated with self-taught visionaries, psychiatric patients, trance mediums, eccentric outcasts, and unschooled artistic geniuses who create things outside of mainstream artistic trends and styles. Outsider Art: Visionary Worlds and Trauma provides a comprehensive guide through the contested terrain of outsider art and the related domains of art brut, visionary art, "art of the insane," and folk art. The book examines the history and primary issues of the field as well as explores the intersection between culture and individual creativity that is at the very heart of outsider art definitions and debates.
Daniel Wojcik's interdisciplinary study challenges prevailing assumptions about the idiosyncratic status of outsider artists. This wide-ranging investigation of the art and lives of those labeled outsiders focuses on the ways that personal tragedies and suffering have inspired the art-making process. In some cases, trauma has triggered a creative transformation that has helped artists confront otherwise overwhelming life events. Additionally, Wojcik's study illustrates how vernacular traditions, religious worldviews, ethnic heritage, and popular culture have influenced such art. With its detailed consideration of personal motivations, cultural milieu, and the potentially therapeutic aspects of art making, this volume provides a deeper understanding of the artistic impulse and human creativity.