We USED to be outsiders…

A couple of weeks back, Outside In artist Jacqui Cavalier got in touch with us about a piece she had written on being an ‘Outsider’ or an ‘ex-Outsider.’ Here, you can read this text. Please let us know your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below or, if you would like a piece on the blog, by emailing k.davey@pallant.org.uk

There was a time when some of us had NO access to the art world.

There was a time we all accepted that.

There was a time we could not compete on a level playing field and had no way to display our work.

Audiences were unaware of our non traditional approach to creating, our untaught ways and our solutions to barriers others had no idea even existed.

Due to lack of funds our use of non traditional artistic materials was seen as re-modelled ‘junk’.

The general public were guided to artists and works that were the accepted norm. They had NO idea that other creations and works even existed , and no yardstick to be able to assess the skills and ideas that people facing barriers had developed and perfected.

Street Artists were criminals defacing public properties.

Disabled artists were in receipt of ‘art therapy’.

Lack of formal teaching prevented our ‘other ways of talking’ being heard.

But that all changed

We now have people that are becoming quite well known.

In fact they are being celebrated!

We now have a slowly dawning creative atmosphere that is welcoming to new ideas and new ways of working.

We now have an audience that is receptive to our messages and our non traditional approach to communicating. People are starting to take note of the brilliance of some of our ideas and methods and our use of materials sourced in whatever ways our budgets allow. The skill sets developed in private and perfected by trial and effort show in the high standards of work that sometimes outshine even the most celebrated of traditional artists.

We now have a choice

Some of us are brave enough to stand up in this new world and be seen.

Some of us prefer the privacy and anonymity that we have always had.

Some of us are now Outsiders by choice rather than Outsiders by situation.

Some of us will always be Outsiders.

Some of us are able to say WE ARE ARTISTS and then say WE USED TO BE OUTSIDERS, but we are part of the art world NOW.

A celebration of ex-outsiders

Names are now known, a pathway has been carved.

Competitions have been entered and won and lost.

Exhibitions nationwide have brought access to both the general public and to Outsider Artists.

Online galleries of Outsider works are proudly displayed and those who have been caught up in the joy and excitement of new discovery have finally found access to work that inspires.

Even the traditional art world is amazed at some of our work. Something new and exciting. Something worthy of thought and discussion. Something that is opinion forming without reference to what is acceptable and what is not.

Some of us have progressed and found the confidence to attend classes and Universities to further our knowledge and skill sets.

Huge signposts are pointing the way for others to find access to the art world through the success and celebration of Outsiders who are now Accepted Artists.

SOME of us used to be OUTSIDER ARTISTS – SOME of us still are OUTSIDERS

but we are now proud to say…

We are artists
and we are part of the art world… By merit

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  1. Rose Knox-Peebles

    You have nailed it – precisely, accurately and with feeling. That is the point; it was towards this that we have been working, speaking, creating, being. Because true artists are – they contain and guide the art they make and the art contains and guides them.

    the piece was thrilling to read.

    Best wishes

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