Diana Ellinger

Artist and illustrator

The outsider

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These are some beautiful water colour drawings by Henry Darger. Their ‘other-worldly’ qualities make them strange and a little unnerving, but at the same time quite beautiful. Discovered after Darger’s death the artworks illustrate his life-long project – The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion – a fantasy manuscript of 15,145 pages which tells the story of the Vivian Girls and their various adventures. kooky I know.

Back in 1972 french painter and sculptor Jean Dubuffet coined the term art brut which roughly translates as ‘raw’ or ‘rough’ art, and as it so often happens, this art label has many variations and ‘outsider art’ is the one bandied around the traps these days. As far as art labels go, it’s a pretty cool one, it generally refers to an artist who works completely independently of the art world, often self-taught and typically social recluses, outsider artists create art that is low brow, naive, outside the norm even fantastical. Darger seems to be everyone’s favourite outsider artist, he’s certainly mine.


Author: Diana Ellinger

Independent creative – artist, illustrator and graphic designer.

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