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Untutored Art

The drawings in this quaint little book, a catalog of the exhibition The Will to Draw, spanning the 1930s to the 1960s, are by amateur artists whose work ranges from stiff to loose but with one thing in common: They are serious attempts at image-making. Collected and displayed by Jim Heimann and Ryan Mungia and published by the pair’s individual imprints, Boyo Press and Ampersand Editions, they represent Heimann’s work as a cultural anthropologist and historian of popular culture.

Don Cockerell, 1935-1938.

Don Cockerell, 1935.

Don Cockerell, 1935.

The imagery runs a wide gamut, from celebrity obsessions to homoerotic art to bits of cheese cake. Each is rendered with care yet with somewhat of an untutored ham fist. But as naif as they are, they are also kind of beautiful.

Jerryre, 1940-1949.

Jerryre, 1940-1949.

Jerryre, 1945.

“My eye has a gravitational pull towards images that are unique, unusual or display a sense of guilelessness and naïveté,” Heimann states in the introduction to this delightful collection. “I have instinctively sought out primitive drawings by unknown or anonymous artists. When digging through piles of paper at swap meets and flea markets, there are inevitably ‘aha’ or ‘haha’ moments when a stack of handmade drawings appears. … These drawings are often the orphans of deceased individuals whose possessions have been dispersed at garage sales, allowing no backstory for their authors.”

Anon., c. 1979.

Anon., c. 1979.

Guy, c. 1962.

Guy, c.1962.

Phil Lewis, 1940.

Phil Lewis, c. 1940.

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