Welcome Intuit’s artists into your home with these documentaries and films featuring self-taught and outsider artists. Let yourself be transported into the artists’ creative processes, visionary worlds and built environments. Our recommendations have something for everyone, whether you are seeking an immersive film experience or a quick dive into an artist’s work.
Mr. Dial Has Something to Say (2007), 59 minutes, PBS.org
Thornton Dial was a self-taught artist who didn’t begin his art career until after retirement. His work was hailed as brilliant, but he labored in obscurity for many years.
James Castle: Portrait of an Artist (2008), 53 minutes, Amazon
This documentary on James Castle reveals the artist’s life and creative process as told by family members, art historians and members of the deaf community. Castle was born deaf and never learned to sign. He expressed himself through beautiful drawings made using cast off paper, soot and spit.
Seraphine (2009), 125 minutes, Amazon
An uneducated housekeeper, Seraphine Louis, spends her days doing menial chores, while her evenings are spent creating art. She is taken in by a German art critic who is determined to turn her into an art star.
The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles (2011), 87 minutes, Hulu, Vudu
An urban mystery unfurls as one man pieces together the surreal meaning of hundreds of cryptic tiled messages that have been appearing in Philadelphia’s city streets. Keep an eye out for Justin Duerr, whose work was featured at Intuit last fall.
In the Realms of the Unreal (2004), 81 minutes, YouTube
Welcome to the world of Chicago artist Henry Darger. For more than 60 years, he created a massive literary and graphic body of work that includes the 15,145-page good-versus-evil novel, The Realms of the Unreal, and hundreds of paintings depicting the story, which features the adventures of the Vivian Girls.
The Highwaymen: Florida’s Outsider Artists (2002), 58 minutes, Amazon
This documentary focuses on a group of African-American, self-taught landscape painters during the 1950s to early 1960s. These artists traveled central Florida selling their paintings from the trunks of their cars.
Finding Vivian Maier (2013), 1 hour 23 minutes, YouTube
Vivian Maier, a long time nanny, passed away in 2009 and left thousands of negatives and undeveloped photographic film in storage. Eventually, the items in the storage locker were purchased and her life’s work uncovered.
Purvis Young: Contemporary Urban Painter (2016), 29 minutes, YouTube
Enjoy an in-depth look at Purvis Young and his work. He was interviewed inside his inner city Miami studio.
Folkstreams.net has numerous short videos, all under 30 minutes.
Elijah Pierce: Wood Carver (1974), 18 minutes
Barber Elijah Pierce describes his process of carving wood.
Well Known Stranger: Howard Finster’s Workout (1987), 28 minutes
Reverend Howard Finster talks about his beginnings in painting in 1976, the construction of Paradise Garden and his large output of works over the course of his life.
Home of the Double Headed Eagle (2006), 15 minutes
This short film focuses on the visionary architecture created by the Reverend H. D. Dennis and his wife, Margaret Dennis.
The Angel That Stands By Me (1983), 29 minutes
Artist Minnie Evans talks about her work and process in this beautiful documentary.
Possum Trot (1977), 28 minutes, available on Vimeo
Calvin Black, whose work titled Renee is in the current exhibition at Intuit, created more than 80 life-sized female figures in partnership with his wife, Ruby, each figure with her own personal identity. Constructed in the Mojave Desert and animated by wind, the Possum Trot roadside attraction included the Bird Cage Theater, where viewers could see the figures sing and dance.
Now grab the popcorn and Milk Duds, and settle in for your visionary movie night!