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Outsider Connections

Through form, content, and style, we continue to find parallels between the artwork of Project Onward artists and that of various Outsider artists, past and present.

What are the environmental, societal, and economic factors that establish an artist as having the distinction of “Outsider" artist? How does this relate to the artists of Project Onward, who work both in a community of unique artists and at home, sometimes with family or friends around them and sometimes in isolation? 

Inspired by the work of various artists in this genre, Project Onward looks to question (if not always answer) and challenge what the next step in this genre of art will be moving forward. We mean to open a visual dialogue with the viewer in hopes that more questions and curiosity about these forms of art emerge.

Alfred Banks / Federico Castellon visionary prints

Both artists have created visions of nightmare and apocalyptic doom.

Cherylle Booker / Richard C. Smith

The connection lies in texture and detail to expression in the faces. Multiplicity is also a factor.

Ruby Bradford / Lee Godie

Both artists show an essence in their self portraits that show an importance in their persona.

Jackie Cousins Oliva / Henry Darger

Both artists have a repetitive nature in figure. There is also the connection in theme. In the first image they are imprisoned by a corrupt force. In the second the figure ares taking back their power.

Louis DeMarco + Luke Shemroske collaboration / Daniel Johnston

There is a connection between these artists with their need to overcome internal strife, and the willingness to change the bad things into good, with the help of text and music.

Stephon Doby / Bill Traylor

Both artists in their minimalist forms portray issues both personal and in society within their own times.

William Douglas / William Blake

The connection between artists lies in the content, both artists portray the doom and prophecy of their own time, with reference to God. 

David Hence / Bryan Charnley

Both artists are working out internal issues, trying to expel the negative from their mind. 

Adam Hines / making grid of Outsider Artists

Many outsider artists have a need to categorize and organize by genre, subject matter, place in time. Adam shares his perspective in this grid on Outsider Artists.

David A. Holt / Mary Procter

Both David and Mary Procter are extremely motivated by their faith and teachings from the Christian Bible. These works act as positive motivation. 

Janno Juguilon / Mark Hogancamp

Mark and Janno share a sense of the whimsical. They put themselves in worlds of fantasy as a way to cope and an outlet from the world we live in.

R.J. Juguilon / Roy Wright

R.J. and Roy both have intense control over these works and give us an intimate perspective of the natural world. 

Paul "Dada Obscura" Kowalewski / David Abisor

Extreme warped patterning and ominously weaved imagery are a thread that connects Paul and David's imagery. 

Molly McGrath / Holly Farrell

Both artists find beauty and importance in the immediate idea of the object. 

Allen McNair / Manvel Lanca Bonifacio

Figure is distorted and oddly patterned in both artists' works. The figures are also as large as other objects in the composition. 

Fernando Ramirez / Vojislav Jakic

Fernando and Vojislav have a flair for the grotesque. Monstrous distortion entices and repulses the viewer at the same time. 

Sheila Smith / Jeff Zenick

Repetitive patterns made from colorful dots give a sense of order both to the artists and the viewer. 

Ricky Willis / Wesley Willis

Brothers who take a similar outlook on the skyline with use of line and perspective. Both inspired by the love of architecture and the overwhelming might of these structures. 

George Zuniga / Helen Rae

Helen and George both create a skewed form and perspective with the figure, to give us a vision of something wholly new from the original image. 

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Project Onward believes we can inspire change by using art to promote empathy and reduce the stigma of mental illness and developmental disabilities. We seek to improve the self-image of artists by emphasizing the social and economic value of their work.


You can directly contribute to this belief and help improve the lives of each Project Onward artist by purchasing their work. Our online shop is open 24/7, and half of the sale for each original piece goes directly to the artist.

Project Onward is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that seeks to promote art as a powerful tool for understanding and valuing the real and potential contributions of our national population with disabilities.

©2020 by Project Onward

Bridgeport Art Center

1200 W. 35th St., 4th Floor

Chicago, IL 60609

(773) 940-2992