WILLIE WILLIE

As Outsider Art continues to grow in popularity, it also continues to diversify within itself, and Louisiana outsider artist Willie Willie is a testament to that fact. Over the past eight years, Willie has transformed his life of working in the chemical emissions of Baton Rougeís industrial district into a life of doing what he wants. "Iím finally leading an artistís life," he says. "I consider myself a contemporary outsider." Willieís creations range from whimsical to sobering, but, as with any true artist, he has a style that is unmistakable. Most of his unique style comes from his approach to the subject matter which is part imagination and part heritage. Willie is one-quarter Sicilian and three-quarters Creole, but he is also a self-admitted child of 1960ís culture. Willie often imagines the faces and expressions of relatives and locals who heís heard stories about but never met. His faces, birds, flowers and alligators are usually painted on tin or copper that he textures with a hammer and cuts with a plasma cutter (an idea he picked up while working in the industrial plants). Another unique quality to Willieís work is his ability to incorporate his framing into the art itself. To achieve that, he fights the South Louisiana heat and humidity to demolish old barns, and he uses the planks of cypress and other native woods to compliment the color and feel of his paintings. As one would imagine, Willieís influences are largely based around his heritage, but he also cites jazz and the blues as being heavily influential. In addition to music, Willie says that he gets part of his style from the line drawings of his favorite childhood comic books. He says that during the morning safety meetings at the chemical plants, he would get bored and make line drawings on his Styrofoam coffee cups. "Those coffee cups are where I started drawing my first masks." The comic strip cups would eventually give him the idea of taking home scrap metal to cut on. When asked what he wants to express with his tin, copper, wood and paint, he says, "Spontaneousness and being self-challenging." Willieís work has been exhibited in the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore and has been featured in Betty-Carol Sellenís book Self Taught, Outsider, and Folk Art. He has been a featured artist at the Kentuck Festival for the last few years, and his work continues to grow in popularity at the Outsider Art Fair in New York.

" Rooster Da Blues"

17" D

Mixed Media

"Guitar Man"

18 1/2" x 30 1/2"

Mixed Media

"Snoopy's Flowers"

12 3/4" x 17 1/2"

Mixed Media

"Block Head"

19" x 27"

Mixed Media

 

"Crying in Da Rain"

19 1/4" x 27"

Mixed Media

"Man with Teeth"

12" x 17"

Mixed Media