Exploring Styles: Folk Art

MY FAVORITE! Even before I knew I wanted to make folk art for a living, I was drawn to the simplicity and honesty of this style. Frida Kahlo, the famous Mexican folk-artist, had one foot in the surrealism camp, but she still was able to make folk art style a priority in her work.

It's easy to look at a piece and suppose that it's "Folk Art"...but how should we actually define it?

Folk art's definition is found in its name: Folk, meaning made by and for common people. It's not terribly fancy, or even relatively realistic. It's not meant to be.

Folk art is a beautiful expression of common objects, scenes, and subjects. The Museum of International Folk Art states: "FOLK ART is the art of the everyday. FOLK ART is rooted in traditions that come from community and culture. FOLK ART expresses cultural identity by conveying shared community values and aesthetics."

My favorite quote from their website says, "FOLK ART fosters connections between art and people with a creative spirit that unites all the cultures of the world." And THAT's why I love it. Connecting cultures and encouraging relationships across borders - I'm all about bringing people together.

I tend to brand my work "folk art" because I don't want to get bogged down by realism or the rules of art (perspective, lighting, figure-drawing) and because I love the freedom a more simplistic art style can bring.

Here are some fellow folk artists that are worth checking out:

Bright colors and simple shapes, with adorable details - these are the hallmarks of artist Lisa Concannon's art. You can find her Instagram here, and her Etsy shop here.

I just discovered Frank and Luisa on Instagram - aren't their designs adorable??! I'm seriously eyeing those carved birds - they would make adorable Christmas tree ornaments! Frank and Luisa say that most of their pieces were inspired by traveling through and living in Poland.

This last artist caught my eye because of...what else, those skulls! I'm a sucker for skulls, it's true. I love that Kate of Fearsome Beasts uses thread to craft her spooky/cute portraits. She has a beautiful eye for framing her masterpieces, and yet not overdoing it on the detail.

What's your take on folk art? Is it something that you gravitate towards? Or do you prefer realism? I'd love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment below!

Marni Manning - Artist

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