James Castle born in 1899 in rural Idaho, deaf and dumb, never learned to communicate in any traditional sense, never learned to read and had no training as an artist. What he did have was an insatiable desire to draw. It became his way to decipher the world, to translate his point of view. His life on the farm afforded him little and left him with whatever he could find to draw with; discarded paper, sticks, soot and spit. He passed in 1977 and only recently has become known in broader circles, a retrospective of his work now is on exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I look at his drawings and marvel at his ability to do what it takes most people years of training to do. Yes, it has a naive angle to it but that’s the charm of it, that’s the purity of his vision. If you google his name and go to images you’ll find a wealth of drawings that show a unique perspective, deft sense of form and space and shape. Most interesting are the books he made of type and icons, mimicking what he sees in letter forms without the understanding of how they work.
This is the desire to create without the infuence of commerce. Note how he did absolutley no drawings of women on the beach wearing white gowns and large brimmed hats.