School’s Out: Self-taught Artists

School’s Out: Self-taught Artists

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  • 28 minutes


Grandma Moses played by Priscilla Pointer
Bill Traylor played by Ossie Davis
William Hawkins played by Geoffrey Holder
Created and Produced by Linda Freeman
Written and Directed by David Irving

“Self-taught Artists” is a category of painters who never attended art school. These three artists create paintings because they were compelled to do so.

The work of these artists is straight from the heart, excluding any formal training or established techniques. Therefore, there is a purity of expression in the art which makes it unique and riveting.

In the documentary, each artist’s art and life is explored with the insightful commentary of several guests: Lee Kogan, Director of the Folk Art Institute, Museum of American Folk Art; Roger R. Ricco, of the Ricco/Maresca Gallery; Jane Kallir, Co-Director of Galerie St. Etienne, NY; Bob Greenberg, Collector.

The artists’ stories are brought to life by the vivid narrations of Priscilla Pointer, Ossie Davis, and Geoffrey Holder. Viewers get to “listen to the artists” through the portrayals of these noted, professional actors. Throughout the documentary, there are discussions meant to help define the term “Self-taught Artist,” and the differences between Folk Art and so called “Outsider Art” are explored. Parallels are drawn between the work of these artists and the art movements of their times, Cubism, Abstract Expressionism, and the other modern art “schools.”

Qualities that each of these artists have conveyed are self-confidence and a basic belief in what they were doing was meaningful. The documentary offers an inspiring, uplifting, yet “down to earth” account of these three important American Artists.

Lee Kogan offers insightful, historical background into the lives of these artists.
Bill Traylor in his studio.
Grandma Moses.
William Hawkins in his studio.
The artwork of William Hawkins.
The artwork of Grandma Moses.
A detail view of one of Hawkins’ paintings.
Grandma Moses signing her work.
Bill Traylor’s artwork.
A detail view of one of Traylor’s artworks.
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