What is Folk Art?

At Just Folk, we concentrate on handmade objects whose aesthetic design transcends their original utilitarian purpose and allows us to see them as works of art. We have an attraction to ordinary objects that are invested with extraordinary individuality. Often these pieces tell stories about seeing the world in different perspectives. Often, they express inner worlds that have no other way of being revealed.

Folk art can be both antique and contemporary. Iconic Americana pieces include trade signs, weathervanes and whirlygigs, quilts, textiles and sculpture. Contemporary folk art includes works that are visionary, outsider, idiosyncratic, untrained, raw, naïve and self-taught. All of the folk art we have collected contains an energy that flows from the life experiences of the creator, expressed in individual, unique forms. Many of them make us smile. Some make us cry. The best of them provoke an emotional response that makes us want to live with them, whether they were created for utilitarian purpose, aesthetic appeal or as an expression of inner lives.

Self Taught
Many of our pieces have been created outside the confines of institutional training, and have no relation to schools, galleries, museums or traditional influences. They are produced by people who, for various reasons, have not been culturally indoctrinated or socially – conditioned to the traditional art world. Among these are artists with developmental disabilities, artists who are incarcerated, isolated, hospitalized or institutionalized. These artists have produced, from the depths of their own personalities (for themselves and no one else) works of outstanding originality in concept, subject and technique. They are works that owe nothing to tradition or fashion. They are linear or dimensional expressions of inner worlds. In some way, we can say they are “unfiltered,”which implies pure, honest and unique visions. We feel that is why they speak to us in such a singular way.
That’s how we define folk art.