My blog about art environments by non-professionals in Europe is intended for the general public. I began this blog in november 2008. Some years before that date I had become fascinated by the creative genius of ordinary people and I thought it was time to share the information I meanwhile had collected.
I began my documentation with the internet as my main source. I do not consider myself an (art) expert and I have no acces to scientific libraries or documentary collections about outsider art in general or environments in particular. My own collection of books and magazines on this subject, so far, is rather small, although growing.
So, when referring to documentation, I will keep in mind that readers of this blog, just as I myself am doing, should be able to find it on the internet.
It is amazing indeed how much information about art environments one can find on the internet. Of course the internet is quite a kaleidoscopic source, where you will find both elaborate texts and casual remarks, and a lot of rubbish too.
Casual remarks in most cases are made by people who, often as tourists, visit a site and share their impressions, in captions for a photo or so. In my blog I may use this kind of information without linking to the sources (It's a blog, eh, not a scientific treatise). However, when deriving information from someone who did an elaborate article, I will refer to the source, either in my main text or in the documentary section of the post.
Some internet sources that have been (and still are) very important to me
My first visit, in the late 1990's, to an outsider environment was in France, so I started looking around in the French digital media. There I found Bruno Montpied (Le poignard subtil), Animula Vagula (Rives et dérives de l'art brut, until 2015), Pascale Herman (Les inspirés du bord des routes, not available anymore on the internet) and Bruno Decharme (website ABCD Art brut)
I also enjoyed Zon'Art, a French magazine, on paper and on the internet (where it has been removed), published from July 1998 until October 2008. And I became familiar with the writings of French art critic Laurent Danchin (1946-2017), who combined a thorough knowledge of developments in the field with a great skill to fit these into a theoretical framework.
Through these and other French sources I gradually met, I got acquainted with the wonderful (French) world of bâtisseurs de l'imaginaire, habitants-paysagistes and inspirés du bord de la route... Being dutch, I am happy I am from the generation that had to learn French in school!
At first I made my annotations about art environments in a paper notebook, but in November 2008 I just plunged into the world of digital media without knowing anything about this world.
In my first posts I mainly wrote about French, Dutch and UK sites, but soon I shifted attention to other countries, like Finland where I came to know the website of Minna Haveri (Nykykansantaide, not available anymore on the internet since ITEnet has appeared), which introduced me to Finnish do-it-yourself art.
Then in those early days around 2009, I also learned about sites in southern Europe.
For Spain I am indebted to El Hombre Jazmin, authored by Graciela García Muñoz (and started around 2006).
In Italy Gabriele Mina medio 2010 began his website Costruttori di Babele, dealing with Italian art environments (The website was fully revised in July 2018). In October 2010 the first edition of the Rivista dell' Osservatorio Outsider Art was published on the internet (the Osservatorio is related to the University of Palermo, Sicily)
In France new sources, both blogs and websites, would come forth. The weblog by Jean-Michel Chesné began July 2010. Sophie Lepetit began writing about outsider art on her weblog Les grigris de Sophie. And Laurent Jacquy early 2010 aired a website about Bodan Litnianski and began February 2011 his weblog Les Beaux Dimanches.
In Finland medio 2011 the website ITE, Finnish contemporary folk art was launched.
After a period of preparing that began early 2011, in the last months of 2012 the completely revised website of SPACES was published. This US public benefit non-profit organization has been created with an international focus on the study, documentation and archiving of environments and self-taught artistic activity.
I am a strong supporter of such an international approach and I feel fortunate to cooperate with SPACES and experience the enthusiasm of Jo Farb Hernandez, who was its director for many years.
It's an ongoing story.....
this page first published sept 2011, last revised dec 2021