I was in Manhattan over the weekend and experienced an absolutely incredible art exhibit entitled “Obsessive Drawing” at the American Folk Art Museum. The pieces are the work of, at the risk using an inadequate term, “doodlers” – all of whom are able to create incredible art through the application of time and persistence as opposed to talent and training. The scale and ambitions of the works are startling while the individual strokes, lines, and colorings are quite modest.
As a person with a programmer-type personality, I’ve certainly spent my own share of free time filling an empty page with strange shapes and forms. I used to create mazes on the white-paper jackets of all my high-school books – it was a very soothing release for my mind. I sensed that same feeling in these works, only with an intensity that I never imagined. Naturally, poor mental health played a role in pushing some of these artists over the edge, but nonetheless, I am still inspired by how they elevated their natural habits into beauty and into art.