Without a doubt one of the most exciting booths at the Outsider Art Fair was that of Ricco/Maresca. Works by Bill Traylor, Martín Ramírez, George Widener, Eddie Arning, and Ken Grimes to name a few. Despite all that greatness, it was this vibrant work by William Hawkins that stood out above the rest.
Of course it could simply have been the colors as I often act as a moth to a light when I see any artwork with a tremendous use of color. It could have been that it was hanging larger than life in the middle of the booth directly behind the one and only Frank Maresca. And as always it could be that the only reason I know the term Outsider Art is because I stumbled upon a William Hawkins exhibit four years ago and it changed my life.
Viewing at and sharing folk, self-taught, and outsider art online the past few years I have seen countless breathtaking and invaluable works of art from a screen. But to experience this work in person is an entirely different, perhaps even spiritual experience.
To see the brush strokes, texture, mixture of colors. The best. To see the magazine clippings, both that act as an eye and then those that were covered up with paint for whatever reason. So good. To see the paint can ring where Hawkins sat down a can of paint to either clean his one brush, sort through his source material, or maybe because he finally got sleepy. It was remarkable.
I could have stayed there all day. I guess I did stay there most of the day. I did see countless wonders and every William Hawkins at the fair, all special and unique and wonderful in their own way.
I hope that you were able to make it to the Outsider Art Fair. I hope you were able to fall in love with at least one piece of art there. I hope that if you couldn’t make it you keep looking at art — any type of art, preferably in person but even on a screen, spending time with it, talking about it, and sharing the stories of the work and the artists who filled the bustling halls of the 30th Annual Outsider Art Fair with so much love and joy. More love. More joy.