What is Folk Art?
Folk art is also referred to as Self-taught Art or Outsider Art, and includes paintings, sculptures, Southern Folk Pottery, some of it anonymous works.
"For a long time this art has been kept out of the mainstream art community," says Folk Fest Show promoter, Steve Slotin. "Self-taught art is the most important visual culture America has ever produced." Because many of the world’s most important folk artists are from the South, and the phenomenal success of Folk Fest, Atlanta is now recognized as the ‘hub of folk art.'
And let not Folk Art be confused with country crafts, duck decoys or split-cane baskets. It is highly personal art. Its religiously inspired paintings, crude tin cut-outs, wood-relief carvings and environmental sculpture gardens created from refuse and other found objects.
Self-taught artists do not seek out the art world. The art world, collectors and dealers, passionately seek them out. The art is produced by untrained people who draw on their culture and experiences in an isolated world; made with a true, untutored, creative passion. Its raw, expressive, unconventional, nonconforming, genuine and truly original. Artistically acclaimed acceptance has caused this art form to blossom.
But its existence is threatened by the inevitable urbanization and population of formerly rural areas. Folk Fest serves to celebrate these artists, bring their works of art together, and share with the public the experience of a culture whose roots may soon disappear.