Art Advisor

It was 1901. A small gallery in Paris held an exhibition of 60  works by the artist Vincent Van Gogh. The best, Poppy Field,  cost  400 francs, about $55 at the time...about $850 in today's worth. All the rest were less.
One visitor came back day after day until finally approaching the gallery owner. "My wife just had a little girl", he said." We are already looking to her future. We have decided to create her dowry from things bound to go up in value." He talked at length on how he adored the Poppy Field. But, he was pressed for decisions and would ask his brother-in-law for advice. The man said, "But let me first talk with my future brother-in-law, an advisor to many with money on art matters. Let me first ask his advice and I will return."
Twenty years later, the man walked back in the same gallery holding a watercolor by Detaille to sell. The gallery owner recognized him even so many years later. 
"I have come to a time to sell my art, bought on good advice. My daughter is to marry!", the man said. "Pray tell me what you will offer. My brother-in-law managed to get me this fine watercolor for fifteen thousand francs. Surely, it will sell for 100,000! "
The gallery owner turned his head and offered nothing. The man became angry. "So, your memory holds after 20 years!", he exclaimed. "Is it your anger or your pride that won't let you tender an offer?"
The gallery owner turned slowly back. He looked long and low at the man, trying to find the words.
"It is neither anger nor pride that holds my offer to purchase your work," said the gallery owner. "It is a desire to keep your feelings intact. But it is too late for that. For you have worthless art from an invisible artist, bought on the advice of a fool. No, your art is not 100,000 and not 10,000 but not even 1000, of that I am sure. And I am sure, too, that I could not sell you the Poppy Field today, if I had it, for less than 300,000! If you had followed your heart on that day 20 years ago, your daughters dowry would spill from its box!"
The man left, holding his watercolor, never to return.

 

The gallery owner was Ambroise Vollard (1868-1939), dealer and promoter of impressionist and avant-garde art. He accumulated Van Gogh art shrewdly and frequently early on, along with art from others outside the art world at the time.          In 1943 in New York City, two artists held almost simultaneous shows of their work. Jackson Pollock and Louise Pershing exhibited their works for sale in galleries steps away from each other. Pollock's 12 works were priced at $50 to $750 and Pershing's 14 were priced $25 to $500.  Pershing's work was colroful and well liked by gallery owners. Pollock's art remained misunderstood then as much of it is today. Today, sixty years later, Pollock's art sells in the millions when it appears and Pershing's work sits in a Pittsburgh garage, still selling for around $500 to a thousand.

And so goes even today the shadowy process of art advice.

Here at OutsiderArt.info, you get free art advice. We serve as your art advisor by showing you the art of our artists and stepping an arms length away. As you look at the art, listen to the small sentences running through your mind, follow the advice coming from within. The art exhibited here at OutsiderArt.info comes from the same field as those poppies over a hundred years ago.

To help make things a little easier for the beginning collector, the accumulator, the branching outs and the veterans, OutsiderArt.info is beginning to enable sales direct from the site. 

OUTSIDER-I’m outside the art world because I can’t stand the insider art world. Every time I give it a chance I get annihilated. The latest example of this...I was in Oklahoma City in a summer and decided to go to the okc museum, typical of museums today….mostly crap work interrupted by enlightening colors. This day, there was the usual idiotic modern art, dale chihuly glass looking like made in china trinkets and weird strips of flypaper. There were also inspiring Mexican lithographs that were stunning. I strolled into one large room and there were things hung from the ceiling, attached to the walls and strewn about the floor, all basically copies of one design…large plastic chunky looking cars and trucks cut on their sides to look airy. As I got deeper into the room, I discovered the artist was there and about to give a talk. Suddenly, there was a crowd of people and they cut off the only two exits as they circled this modern day idiot. I listened to this hack drone on and on about the beauty of plastic flowers, his childhood as an idiot and the great work his agent does in marketing his work and all I kept thinking was that I had done this horror to myself. I was stuck! There was no way out! It was at least twenty minutes before I could escape. I wanted to punch each patron once and then kick the artist but I didn’t. On the way out, I wanted to smash a piece of glass.

HEALTH-Wish I had some wisdomic thing to say about health but I don’t…it’s a human mystery, a vagary of the human condition that some people die and some people live, some are healthy, some not and others play under the watchful twisted eye of men dressed like doctors or priests or rabbis or shamans…the problem with health and its deterioration is that it also sucks away hope when we are in the midst of it…the trick, the triumph of the human spirit over itself comes when we throw off the despair, shrug off the demons and do what we want, when we continue on in the face of the mysterious shroud that keeps throwing itself over us
INNERSCAPISM-The idea that a creator would escape within themselves and walk around an uncreated landscape, sort of experiencing the unexperiencable, and then have the ability to transfer some of that to a visual form that others might see...it seemed pretty cool and definitely not something everyone can do.

Intriguing to me is why you guys bother, why an artist or creator bothers using time and effort and energy/power when more is unknown about the reception of the work than is known...on top of the bare exposure the artist has when showing a work even of a flower in a vase let alone some inner landscape that someone else might recognize either through their own experience or through what they've been taught...it all gets mysterious and exciting to me. And reinforces my idea that some artists might actually end up partial heroes.

So, innerscapism.
CONTEMPORARY-there is a smell in contemporary art because no one wants to think art out. It’s much easier putting bullshit on the wall and adoring it than it is putting dead nuns on the wall and going through the machinations of figuring all that goes with the dead nuns...that’s too hard for the gallery owner, for the idiotic viewer with the wine soaked fingers and cheese dick breath….one time I felt bad for an artist (I don’t know why because I’m generally a red white blue prick) and I said I’d put up his idiotic representative art that really kind of sucked real bad. The ass emails me back after my usual email and said “ hey!! I get 300 dollars for these, you’re crazy”…and I thought you dumb motherfucker about myself, kept saying that over and over to myself so much I wanted to punch myself but didn’t. another time, I didn’t email an artist back and they resubmitted like ten times. Finally, I don’t know how but the artist got my email address and said like “ fuck you, who the fuck are you, you don’t say what’s art, you aren’t the fucking king of art, like some general massing the art army” or something like that. And I said to myself” you stupid fuck “ again over and over about myself until I wanted to drop a big sharp rock on my foot but didn’t. anyway (I’ll shut up soon but you bitched so you deserve it) these two instances are for me just what is wrong with art….as if what I thought should matter to an artist enough to make them mad or as if 300 dollars was worth anything in the world of art.
If a urinal can be art then what I think about somebody’s work is irrelevant and if I can attach money to a work then why not just hang the fucking money on the wall.

The big bitch about art comes down to this….most people want their art to match their couch. Those people shouldn’t have art eyes, their eyes should go blind when they look at art, like the sun is right in front of them or a laser is stinging their eyes. I can’t blame people for not buying art but when they buy art to match their walls and think they are buying art, they shouldn’t be allowed alone with their thoughts. Everything they think should light up across their chests like a blimp so we could monitor them because they’re crazy bastards and we shouldn’t have to believe anything they say if their art matches their rug, even if it is a coincidence.

I better shut up
BEVERLEY ASHE-Titled "Angel of Lost Keys", the painting captures an image of the angel seemingly as it blinks into our world, almost by mistake. Ashe catches the angel holding keys in the right hand, offering them to the viewer almost as a ransom to let the angel escape back into the world whence it came. Be careful about taking them...who knows what they open. The paint, colors, texture, markings, scratches and words all combine to make this less a painting than it is a real thing. I feel like I have an angel, like a scorpion trapped in amber. Fantastic vision to stand before.
I am interested in hiring Jesse Reno to do a cover for our magazine.
How can I contact him? Angela Moore Art Director The Santa Fe Reporter
I am hoping that you can help me locate Karl Mullen.  I have an address for him and could write to him, but I am deaf and my best form of communication is by email. My name is Joe Adams and I have the America. Oh, Yes! Art Gallery.  As a matter of fact you have 5 images that we bought from Karl displayed on your website. Anyway, I meet him last year at Folkfest in Atlanta.  I would like to buy some more of his small pieces for our gallery, but I would really like to talk to him about is doing a show of his larger works in our DC gallery in 2005.  We are already working on the 2005 show schedule so I was hoping to communicate with him soon. If you are not able to provide an email address, perhaps you could forward this to Karl and have him contact me.  I didn't want to have to wait in hopes that I would see him again in Atlanta this year. Thanks so much in advance for your help. Joe Adams America. Oh, Yes!
DOUBT-Sorry for the delay. My real job had taken me away from home and all but work issues but I have returned to the lighter side of life. I am real glad to read emails from you and hope you know that you can send me something to read anytime you want. As for advice...I'm not sure I'm qualified to say what you need to hear but I'll say what I think is right....I know little of the debate with the definition of outsider art and classification of artists. That really is very little concern to me and frankly gets in the way of my purpose with the site. I do know that I am outside the art world and need validation of that fact from noone. You are on the site because I like your art very much, not because you have declared yourself an outsider art, closeted or not. Oh, the horror, to be discovered to have taken an art class! Feel the shame of the discovery of a drawing class in an artist's past! As for defining outsider art using the artists life as a determining factor...its all bullcrap designed to limit entrance into galleries. Thats all it is. Its meaningless as a genre and meaningless as it applies to production of artwork by a human. There exists no more definable outsider artist as there exists one true religion. Here is the important thing...you have discovered within yourself that which has potential to link you to others through the use of color, line and style. You have determined that there may be another language besides the spoken word that you have begun to learn to use. Art communicates, inspires, rejects, embraces, instills, enrages...all with tools designed to reach another through their senses. You are, at the least, a painter, an artist. Your struggle with definition is the same struggle that caused Duchamp to all but quit the painters life even at the beginning of a movement he made famous. Rather than validate the view of others, he literally stopped (after producing a masterpiece so don't throw out your paints yet!) and began to proclaim rather than produce art.....a bicycle wheel on a stool, a pain of glass, a urinal. Instead of succumbing to, worrying over and living by the narrow view of others, he decided that the only view was no view (the historical problem with this is that, of course, deciding to have no view actually is a view but lets not go nuts).
I think you are an artist, Fr. Andrew, and you have the same doubts as most people living a regular, non-creative life. But for an artist, the doubts are darker, go deeper. Incrimination filtered through doubt creates despair. And thats no way to be. Think less of what you are and more of who you are. You have a colorful vision to share. Changes to that vision are natural and sometimes painful and the time spent working through those changes at times is too long, too costly. But the trick is to make the changes anyway. To stick to it, if creating art can't be stopped.
As for the brothers, I think you ought to do more with less. Politely thank them for their past financial support of your art but inform them that you won't need it, or as much of it, as in the past. That you have discovered another way of creating based on use of less materials to create a more intense artwork. They won't know what you are talking about, will think you mad and will let you alone to do as you please. The artist that inspired me to continue the site at my darkest moments amde his art from what he found and scrounged, out of necessity. He lived a meager life mostly because of his mistakes and excesses. He always said to me "You can't quit because someday you will do good for me and me for you. And if not for me, then for somebody deserving good more than me. I know you can't see that now but I can!" He barely had cover from the rain but felt the need to make me know that someone believed. And so I do to you. I believe in your art. I wish I could do more, be more of a patron and perhaps someday I will.
As for Mikey Welsh and Andrew Masters...
Mikey explodes art and paint, has moved to creation with his hands and would love to hear from you. He may not email you back immediately but please write him. He is on to something and just can't stop. He's a great guy,  He was bassist for a band called Weezer, disappeared one August 2001 and reappeared as a painter-artist. Please contact him.
Andrew Masters carried the painting he gave me on an airplane from Paris to the US. It is a work on paper laid on wood and traced with wires, rods and wood. Its hard to see online but the work magnetizes me. He's a great guy and would love to hear from you. He's taking a small truck to the Raw Arts Festival and you may be able to give him some hints.
I better shut up now, have talked too much......
I hope you find intrigue, comfort and inspiration in my words to you as your art does that to me. peace
REMOVAL-Hello again, Hope all is well. Periodically, I have to make decisions on the site and sometimes those
decisions involve removing some of the galleries. Mostly, it is a business decision and nothing to do with the merits of the artwork. I exhibit the work for a period of time and then the site popularity creates a need for space. Because I like all the art I exhibit and the artists I write to, the decisions are hard for me and for the artists, too. I recently removed your gallery and the galleries of five or so other artists. The process will
continue over time. When making the decision on which to remove, when the artwork itself is
equally appreciated, it comes down to the scope of the artwork sent. Your pieces that were sent are appreciated but do not approach the size, quantity or representational quality of the work in the images you sent me from your exhibition. Nor do they measure up when compared to most of the artists on
the site and all of the recent additions. I want to make this clear....I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT THE QUALITY OF THE ARTWORK. Anyway, I've probably said too much and don't wish to cause you any trouble. If in the future you are able or willing to submit work and send along artwork representational of the bulk of your work, let me know.
SITE-I realized years ago that the public would use the term outsider art as a search word when the looked for new and innovative art that didn't look like ,nor was created in the manner of, traditional art. Even if they did not understand the term "outsider art" they would use it! So I knew that
I was really outside the art world and captured the name. I wanted outsiderart.com but it was taken by a software company. I began to structure the underlying code of the site to be recognized by Google, as I knew then that noone could beat Google for use. Soon, Google was indexing the site
from top to bottom and picking up names of the artists. I never really asked for links from other sites but they began to develop on their own. And artists began to find the site and want to be a part of it. My only
intention ever was to expose their art to a wide audience. Over time, because of the questions on why there was no fee, I began to ask for an original and it worked. All of the artists presently on the site have sent
originals. Now, the site comes up very high in Google search because of the great art,
traffic to the site and superior links. It has all happened pretty much like your drawings....somewhat unconsciously ( I know that doesn't adequately describe the way your drawings are created but ...). I receive submissions regularly and have determined that I have a responsibility to the artists
already on the site when considering new exhibitions. I want to open a gallery, I think every day about it. It is the next logical step and will allow me to help the artists with commerce. The website can
only do so much. Thanks for your email. It gave me a chance to write some things I've thought
to write. I'll shut up now
ARTIST DEATHS-over the last hundred years or so, artists like franz marc, egon schiele, liubov popova, august macke......have died in the midst of recreating an art that may have somehow been passed to them. marc and macke died in world war I, marc after volunteering and died at age 27 and macke was drafted and died
young. both were important parts of the blue rider group that feel apart after their deaths. more importantly, especially marc, the artwork they were working on ceased developing with their deaths. kandinsky pushed some of it through as he was friends with them but the spirit of their art was lost
with them, not forever but rather finding an outlet ( this is just my idiotic theory and develops as i think about it). schiele died at 28 in a flu epidemic of 1918. his art came but never developed. others can be added to the list. that force of art doesn't dissipate with a human passing, i
don't think. someone comes along and feels something, moves within a different slice of life than others, and somehow that artwork, or what it has become as it waited for its time, comes out....on canvas...as
sculpture...who knows as what, maybe sometimes as music or thoughts put to paper.
when I look at your artwork, some of it, i know it is not all of you, that its beginnings are from before the both of us were around. some of the art you make has fallen to you to produce, to create from a jar of color that which otherwise would lay fallow. i could say much more but its probably best that you continue what you are on to without my interruption. i usually hesitate to say much because its not really my place. creation is such a delicate balance between intervention and invention that i think it best be undisturbed from without, that from within comes the brightest light.
MELANIE FAUCHER -Hello, The painting i have sent you is a kind of self portrait ...i explain : i tried to represent myself with the emotions i was feeling at the same time.the body is tortured by the blue and the white .... this expresses how i feel my body. if you look attentively an arm is missing : the body is not uniform that's why i try to distort the people i represent) and not indestructible ...sometimes you can have this strange sensation that something is missing .... this is what i wanted to show : a crippled body is still a human body that feels, thinks ...this can appear evident but i think it is not for every one ....the hand is like disappearing because i see the body as ephemeral (it is of course but we can sometimes forget it )the face .... maybe the most recurrent thing i can paint ...always the same... no mouth or a destructed one.... it may represent my difficulty to communicate, i don't really know ....in the "background" (there is no real one, in fact it is part of the body but i prefer to use this term)so in this part you can sometimes see faces ....as a spirit that follow you .... maybe as a nightmare some people told me it was like the spirit of the body which became more important and more obvious than the material part of Human beings. the colours : i don't pay so much attention to this ...i take one without thinking (of course sometimes i have a particular idea and i try to reproduce it but it is quite rare). some can have a meaning : like green represent Madness to me , white is a colour that can hurt because it is an aggressive one and because it is the first one you see on the painting. i hope i was clear ...but it is difficult to me to express exactly what i  want in english....if you have any question i would appreciate to answer thank you Mélanie.

I will draw some pictures and send them to you.

Best regards
Dushan

 
 

My Own Review of The Colorful Apocalypse

and Greg Bottoms

On page 181 of Greg Bottoms' 182 page documentary book " The Colorful Apocalypse ", Mr. Bottoms reveals that "a narrative is not life, and a moment in text is not a moment, only a made thing that presents the illusion of a moment. I did my best, though, to make these illusions look and feel like life, at least as I experienced it; and then, perhaps like a documentary filmmaker, I tried to string together and juxtapose some of what seemed to me to be the most meaningful moments in a way that made sense and told the story as I saw it."

How I wish Bottoms had inserted that incredibly revealing statement on page one or even page two! Having read this admission of Bottoms belief in a new style of documentary writing or filmmaking, I clearly could have read the rest of the book with a better understanding of the intent of the writer, that to create a documentary somewhat like "a documentary filmmaker". You see, for the most part, the book purports to detail the life and times of three powerful visionary artists each on his own mission...Howard Finster, William Thomas Thompson and Norbert Kox. And naturally, in the telling of any true story, most authors are granted an amount of leeway for imagination and trivial inventiveness. But Bottoms attempt at being a documentarian fails, falling far into the pit of his own tragic life and its colorful distortion of what lay before him but remained hidden by his laziness and his rush to satisfy grant requirements.

As I did not know Mr. Finster, my understanding of the "illusions" presented in Bottoms' book comes from my familiarity with the art and life of Mr. Thompson and Mr. Kox. And as I do not know Mr. Bottoms save through his writings on the tragedy of his personal life and how it has colored his views towards us all, I can only deal with what he reveals about the pain and hurt and amateur psychology that most obviously will control the rest of his life and possibly that of his offspring.

Throughout the book sections dealing with Mr. Thompson and Mr. Kox, Bottoms consistently attempts to shoehorn the artists' fervent and steadfast belief in the vision that drives the creation of their art into the same stagnant swamp that produced Bottoms' violent and drug-handicapped brother. Bottoms seems to say repeatedly that his brother's uncontrolled and unleashed mental disorder shares a relative with the "Christian Poor South", a class Bottoms proudly and often reminds us that he has become "one generation removed from". Would that he could run from his brother as easily in telling the lives of these two men but he can't. His brother's madness apparently stamped its image and direction on his soul and in the tips of his hands where skin meets pen. Bottoms too frequently and  emphatically compares the unbending will of the visionary artist to the black insanity emanating from within his family. Initially, I believed Bottoms had practiced typical lazy writing, an affliction common to those facing a deadline or lacking any insight into their subject. But as I read and reread the book, more seemed to be at work, especially in Bottoms retelling of the seminal moment in Mr. Thompson's life.

I have listened to Mr. Thompson many times...in person, in letters (email) and by phone...on his epiphany, the vision he experienced that has changed his life forever. That telling, the clear vision, has never changed. Never. No matter how many times I listened, the same events, the same times, the same results would reveal themselves. It is this reliably repetitive telling that has allowed me to know the truth behind the words he relates and the legitimacy of Mr. Thompson's art as influenced by his vision. Bottoms asserts that he listened to the same man I have tell the events I have heard over and over but writes an account that clearly is "only a made thing". However, Bottoms claims it as documentary-level truth while relaying that his new version of Mr. Thompson's life-changing vision now has the stamp of authenticity and replaces the original. Bottoms also claims that this type of thing happens to those types of people, those people of his brother and of that "Christian Poor South" that he has proudly become "one generation removed from". The entire section of Colorful Apocalypse dealing with Mr. Thompson's important and driving event has been fabricated by Bottoms in the telling. Probably just Bottoms trying to "string together and juxtapose some of what seemed to me to be the most meaningful moments in a way that made sense and told the story as I saw it." I don't think it can be that simple.

Simple it would be to pick out little things, cast-away remarks....locked in a tower, lips painted red, a deaf mother, a Mr. T brother yelling confusing lies...Bottoms claims as truth. And simple it would be to claim these burdensome, burgeoning lies as the subjective rant of "an amateur", of this "Camus instead of Joyce." Oh how simple to claim the book could have been four or five hundred pages instead of the most important, the most relevant 182 pages. And as a publisher, how really simple life is when you disavow responsibility for an unrelenting page-after-page of seemingly fabricated dreams by claiming the subjective nature of the author and his quest to be free of the bonds that tie all good men trumping  any right to factual reporting of "whole reels" of recordings that ended up in the trash. What simple author, one just feeling the breeze, trying to relate to the subject at hand in his own manner records hours of conversation, writes books of notes? Simple...none. No one, no writer wanting to catch the dissipating mist of an idea, the fleet-footed wing of a mood takes mounds of notes, records reels of tape. In art terms, Monet took no photographs in his attempt to show that which made him feel, a feat Bottoms and his publisher claim as the true sojourn of this wounded but courageous young master. Yet Bottoms claims to have done just that. And most incredibly, Bottoms asserts that he forever consulted those hard-copy proofs of his trek across his beloved Poor South. Bottoms claims that it was "the help of tapes and transcripts" that jogged his soaked memory, that cleared-up the hazy remembrance of his quest to show "a sliver of a sliver" of the outsider art world in a "willfully subjective presentation". In those three words...willfully subjective presentation...Bottoms again empties his bowels of the honest and humble notion of showing that which is before you. Bottoms reveals to all his readers, unfortunately on the last page of his book, that he will stubbornly press his daggered life and times into that which he sees and hears from the two men I know in his book. Bottoms defines for the reader that he will stubbornly present that which belongs to Bottoms as the visionary force behind Thompson and Kox rather than the vision held by these two men and their presentation of that vision in their art. In doing so, Bottoms and his publisher place excessive, misleading and damaging emphasis on Bottoms' own moods and tragedy-filled life while expressing almost total disregard for the truths of his subjects' experience. Simple it would be to pick out the simple lies and fabrications. Simple, too, to dispute those picks, as an author or publisher, with claims of subjectivity and eye-of-the-beholder speak. But running from that stated  truth eventually becomes complicated.

Bottoms has crafted a book that adheres to a tenet he claims to live by in his hobby as a "journalist....a kind of documentary filmmaker". As he so eloquently quotes on page 122 (deep into his assault), Bottoms asserts that he will gain his story by approaching his victims with the purpose of "gaining their trust and betraying them without remorse". Bottoms claims, in an unusual statement on how to live and, even worse, how to treat others, that this is the only way (in his role as a kind of documentary filmmaker) to make sense out of his travels amongst the people he has met. To act as a sort of confidence man, bankrupted of the quest for the true story, while wedging Bottoms' own view of madness between himself and his subjects' story. This is a complicated run at producing a book, at getting a story, such as the one he has created, published. Bottoms found, indeed is employed by, conspirators in his mission and others who embrace any version of a story as long as they don't have to learn anything on their own.

I could go on and on but am becoming bored with Bottoms, his book and the lazy attempt he has created to distance himself not only from that "poor Christian South" that courses through his family's veins but in an attempt to find in many others the madness that creeps slowly up on him from behind, in the dark corners of his eyes. I'll close with a listing of Bottoms' revelatory musings and will translate them so that you, his unfortunate reader, may somehow get through the book without the madness that may have afflicted Bottoms:

  • Talking about Finster, Bottoms claims to have seen a movie on him when he was a youngster but not watching it again, fourteen years later, before starting a book on the man because "In my imperfect recollection of the film( I haven't watched it again so as not to destroy my memory with a lesser reality), Finster played ...a banjer." Translation: Bottoms views his unaided recollection as more valid than the actual recorded event so much so that he does not view the material again out of fear of getting it right. It appears that, in Bottoms' mind, the recorded version has become the "lesser reality" and his attempt to "make sense out of what I saw" has replaced the true version. Very unusual and complicated.

  • Bottoms uses quotes by his subjects that deal with other matters in sentences wholly crafted by him to illustrate his own views. In one case, relating an AVAM meeting with a young fan of Mr. Thompson's, Bottoms feels the fan has gotten the message of a painting wrong, that the fan is all bundled up in pimples and piercing, unable to grasp the vision he thinks Mr. Thompson meant to portray. Bottoms writes that he wonders why Mr. Thompson doesn't "shoot fire out of his mouth" and tell the fan about "Jesus being a white guy". Translation: Bottoms repeatedly (to quote them all would make me just as much a prisoner as to Bottoms' upbringing as his brother has become) inserts attributions in wholly crafted views that seem to assert those attributions belong to his subjects when they are clearly created and owned in Bottoms own past and family life. In the process, because of the way Bottoms presents the text, his subjects are damaged through Bottoms own limited understanding.

  • Bottoms often and erroneously compares his subjects to what he believes are certified nutcases. In one particularly damning claim, Bottoms states that he has used his own sense of the issues to determine that Mr. Thompson is just like August Natterer. Translation:  Unfortunately, the only clear link between Natterer (a hospitalized, suicidal schizophrenic who was unable to function in society and spent most of the last 26 years of his life locked away in institutions for the insane) and Mr. Thompson is that they both claimed to have had a vision. Doubly unfortunately for Mr. Thompson, Bottoms emphatically and forever has linked him with someone unable to get through life on his own, a man who claimed to read the future and predict great events, not a man who was spreading a vision not of his own making, as Mr. Thompson does in his art.

  • Bottoms refers to Mr. Thompson and his art repeatedly in marketing terms, variously referring to Thompson's art as "currently hot", claiming that "his eccentricity is in direct accordance to his value as an artist and he is highly valued at this time" and , in text, implying a contrivance by Thompson to engender a "hard sell" of his work and vision. Bottoms also links Thompson's presence at American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM) with a type of cheap barkerism. Translation: Bottoms damages Thompson's presentation of his vision through his art by repeatedly connecting Thompson's attempts at creating on canvas that which drives him to an art world and process that Thompson cares little about and has never embraced. Bottoms claims that the most respected and presentable venue for Thompson's work, the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, acts like a pimp to Thompson's supposed whoring ways. Bottoms denigrates AVAM and Thompson and holds them both up to unanswered ridicule by describing scene after scene that seems at odds with Thompson's stated mission to get the word out about his work. Bottoms even suggests that the presence of a snack shop and accoutrements in the museum somehow invalidates all else within, including Thompson's art

  • In one particularly indecipherable passage, Bottoms links Mr. Thompson's concentration on his vision and work with the life of Gerald Hawkes, "a poor heroin addict from the ghettos of Baltimore" and with the life of William Burroughs, "who shot his wife and shot up in Warhol's factory". Bottoms does this by claiming that Thompson ignores the differences in the two nutcases work, that somehow Thompson refusal to consider their art points to character flaws in the man. No real translation for this one.

  • Bottoms, without attribution or quotes, out of hand states that Thompson would send all Buddhists to hell.

  • Bottoms assigns to Mr. Thompson an encompassing and devouring depression. Bottoms repeatedly refers to cases of depression in others, including rampant prevalence of the disease throughout Bottoms' own addicted-handicapped family, as somehow being assigned through dictum to Thompson. Bottoms pulls the little knowledge of history of the outsider art movement he has from the black, grainy pit of his own experience and brushes across the entire field, including splashing across Thompson and his work. Translation: Bottoms lazily takes what admittedly little he knows about art, outsider art and life and decides to present this small vial of poison as the facts in his "documentary filmmaker" presentation of Thompson and Kox's life.

Bottoms presents so much unusual text and silly links that I guess I could go on for days and days. But, as I've said, I am bored with this and must stop. This is as good a place to stop as any.

I am reviewing this book on my own, this Colorful Apocalypse, after reading it twice cover to cover, reading most of it more times than I can count and after concentrating on Mr. Thompson's portrayal more so than the rest. As I've said, I know Mr. Thompson and know Mr. Kox less so. Most of my review deals with the parts related to Mr. Thompson.

It is as clear to me as the sky above that Bottoms not only has created a fictional account of the time spent with Mr. Thompson but that Bottoms has also created a message and vision that belongs only to Bottoms. In interviews conducted after the publishing, Bottoms does what most con men do when  removed from their craft...they invent a persona and become it for the interviewer. Bottoms claims in an interview that "I also wanted to let them speak for themselves at length, more at length than I might otherwise, in another project." He asserts that he documented, consulted, recorded and vetted what he wrote, that he alone respects the message these visionary artists have embraced and show in their art. He accuses many galleries and museums of attempting to "collect stories and package them and offer them up" in some unusual conspiracy of capitalism that denigrates the vision. He says that, for the most part, they miss the important message behind most visionary art and Thompson's in particular and accuses galleries and museums of deadening the message. Bottoms, naturally, initially sees himself above all this in a way a documentarian is above advertising. But, in his pseudo artistic and martyred style designed to engender a feeling of motherly love for Bottoms, he then asks "Well, what the hell do I do?" when referring to how he spends time with his victims only to report on them later for his own enrichment.

Time after time in Colorful Apocalypse, Bottoms intimates that Mr. Thompson suffers great depression because of the way he acts and what he says but provides no proof. Bottoms states that it is wrong to equate madness with freedom, wrong to disenfranchise artists in the way AVAM does, according to him, but provides to backup to his thoughts save for the background he has dealing with a nutcase in his own family. Seemingly, we the readers, are to blindly accept Bottoms as a visionary psychologist because there exists a frightening homicidal madness enveloping his won family. He asks us to believe that he is manner clairvoyant because he has suffered under familial insanity. But, I don't buy it. I don't believe he sees that true nature of people anymore than a tree knows its being wet down by the dog lifting its leg right next to it. I don't accept Bottoms cutesy, trifled style of denying his attempt at documentary writing by claiming, as he does, that he is a master memoirist, that his goal was to live with, to breathe with, to listen to his victims. The proof that he did none of what he claims in interviews conducted the book was published exists in the Colorful Apocalypse. His book damns the stated goals, the espoused life-journey-as-writer that he wears like a red badge of courage. I think Bottoms is neither documentarian nor memoirist, illuminated writer nor sparkling recorder, not insightful author nor accomplished feeling-because-I've-been-hurt puppy dog. I think what Bottoms has produced is a con. And that con marks him more than any claim else.

I'm bored again. Maybe more later.