This guest post has been written by Brendan Liam, ‘Curator of the Apocalypse.’ Brendan has coined the term ‘Nomadic Art’ to describe works that are predominantly anonymous, and created on simple materials often found to hand. The work he describes is much nearer street art than fine art in its appearance and style.
“My name is Brendan Liam and I’m Curator of the Apocalypse. I’ve been an outsider artist and curator for less than two years. Before 2014, I had never had any notion of considering myself an artist, much less a curator. I went to the University of Wyoming and wandered from 1992 to 2005. I had 185 credits when I graduated 20 years ago, three of which were related to art, for ‘beginning drawing.’ So I’m educated, but not in art; I have no background in art. My background is economics, business, and real estate. Essentially I had what I call a ‘successful midlife crisis.’ I had been making six figures a year and living the life of an ordinary person and I quit the whole show… and accidentally emerged doing art in the summer of 2014 and I will be doing my first show in Denver this coming November at the Pancakes and Beer show.
I am a good example of an ‘outsider’ for sure. I don’t know about the rules of composition, I don’t understand colour wheels and I don’t care what gallerists or judges say. I just want to sell art to people, preferably people who don’t normally buy art. I usually get my inspiration from small children because they don’t know the rules either.
After all that formal education, I certainly didn’t want to go back to college to study art at 42 years old. I gave it some thought, and decided it would be much quicker to create a philosophy of art that championed ignorance. The result may or may not be original – I certainly wouldn’t know – I’m just too damn ignorant. Either way, I call it ‘Nomadic Art.’
‘Nomadic Art’ is closer to street art than fine art. It is always artist-less, or by Anonymous. This is partially because knowing the name attached to a piece of visual art arguably clouds one’s ability to objectively view the art. Naturally some artists are so unique they may not need to sign and thus may not avoid the subjectivity issue addressed normally by anonymity. The important thing to note is the credentials attached to the art here – which are none. No artist means no resume, and all that goes away with that.
All that remains is the art. I fear the deeper into the art world I go, the further from the art I might get. So I’m actually paranoid to some degree, about learning too much from the industry itself. I’d prefer to let the paint teach me; the paint and the preschoolers.
The art is done quickly, in any medium, on any available material and obviously by anyone. This is the heart of Nomadic Art: it is essentially painted garbage. Frames are extremely rare, and if you see one for sale, it’s unusual. For the paintings, you’d never see actual canvas or oil, that’s far too fancy for Art from the Apocalypse. The canvases do include Masonite, composite boards (usually drawer bottoms), OSB (particle boards), wood scraps, paper and just about anything else – except canvas.
Even the mounts are unusual. If you click the links, you’ll also see some pieces have lengthy stories behind them.”
2 thoughts on “Nomadic Art from the Apocalypse”
I really enjoyed reading all you wrote here. I have my own experiences that are in ways aligned with yours and then in some ways the complete opposite. What is opposite is that I’ve been deeply in the ‘outsider’ world of art for basically my whole life but had the exception of going to college in the 30’s. I ended up debating with a professor because I told him I just ‘did’ art, what I was learning was showing me what I already did quite well without knowing. So I, too, felt the more I go into ‘art business/school/world’ the more I’ll lose it. My creative responses are such that I can’t really control that and I always found another path to take artistically to move away from the places that feel are closing in on me. Oh, I wasn’t going to write this much and there is so much more I would love to pick up on that you brought up in this blog….but I’ll refrain. I’ll keep it to the ‘outsider’ art comment and just say that I feel like I broke the ‘rule’ of what it is to be an outsider artist -but in the core of my being and most all of what I am is ‘outsider’ art, if I understand it correctly. Maybe there’s another unknown term for me…..