DAILY ART FIX: Unseen Artist Eric Tucker

Art world links which caught my eye…

So much talent out there which does not participate in the corrupted, virtue signaling, Postmodern absurdity of establishment art.

Key quote from the article:

Tucker was a boxer and construction worker in Warrington. And though few knew it, he was also a prolific, self-taught artist whose paintings depicted a lost, industrial era. Before he died in 2018 at the age of 86, family members discovered a trove of about 400 canvases, the best of which are now on display here.

Tucker spent his days in the front parlor of his home, painting the working-class world he knew: Boisterous pubs where people played piano and sang. Neighborhoods of terraced houses — the English equivalent of row homes — where men played cricket in empty lots against a skyline of belching smokestacks. It was a communal way of life that disappeared with Warrington’s factories.

See the full article here: NPR – ‘Unseen Artist’ Eric Tucker Spent Decades Painting — But Nobody Knew


I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.


Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

DAILY ART FIX: Daniel Johnston’s Psychedelic Drawings: A Swirling Trip Through ‘Outsider Art’

Art world links which caught my eye…

Musician and artist Daniel Johnston was the real deal.

See the full article here: THE QUIETUS – Daniel Johnston’s Psychedelic Drawings: A Swirling Trip Through ‘Outsider Art’


I don’t fundraise off of my blog. I don’t ask for Patreon or Paypal donations. If you’d like to support the Remodern mission, buy a book. Or a painting

My wife Michele Bledsoe has written her own inspirational book, Painting, Passion and the Art of Life.


Visit other posts for more commentary on the state of the arts.

Please send any inquiries to info@remodernamerica.com. Thank you!

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED: Vintage Music Reviews-Rudimentary Peni “Cacophony”

*Update: Richard Bledsoe will be offline for an extended period due to an unexpected medical situation. I am Richard’s wife, Michele Bledsoe – and for the interim I will act as his hands and eyes. 

A few years ago, Richard used to write for the punk ‘zine AZKAOS. This was one of the vintage music reviews he contributed from 2010.

Rudimentary Peni “Cacophony” Album Cover Art by Nick Blinko


Rudimentary PeniCacophony


Outer Himalayan Records


And then the matter of that phonograph record…It must mean something; whether animal noises deceptively like human speech, or the speech of some hidden, night-haunting human being decayed to a state not much above that of lower animals.

  -H. P. Lovecraft   


Does genius lead to madness, or is the other way around? Mental illness in reality is usually a drab and frustrating situation. The romantic cliché of the brilliant lunatic persists though, supported by the occasional rise and fall of some inspired martyr; there is some truth to the template. When an inventive mind gets caught up in a wave of mania, astonishing creations can occur.

The Rudimentary Peni album Cacophony feels maniacal, as if it were recorded at the height of some delusional frenzy. A rare hardcore punk concept album, an obsessive riff on horror pulp author H.P. Lovecraft, it captures that writer’s atmosphere of melodramatic creepiness. The recording seems like an organic whole; songs blend into one another, connected by snippets of dialogue and sound effects, racing along at breakneck speed. It is one of those records to be played in its entirety, to better appreciate the story arc.

Rudimentary Peni (named for a biology class definition of clitorises) grew out of the busy London anarcho-punk scene nurtured by the musical collective Crass. RP’s front man Nick Blinko is the songwriter, guitarist and singer; he also produces the horror vacui outsider art that illustrates the albums-teeming landscapes of grimacing faces, skulls and religious icons. Blinko could be a character out of a Lovecraft work-a talented outsider whose mind was broken by the pursuit of arcane knowledge. Diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, Blinko has spent some time institutionalized for his condition.


Nick Blinko Artwork 


Despite the burdens of Blinko’s mental state, and all the growling death rock themes explored, Cacophony is a rollicking, playful album, bursting with excitement at its own inventiveness. The lyrics echo Lovecraft’s quaint verbose style in a manner that is both tribute and satire. The content veers between Lovecraft’s biography, his works, and more oblique rants. The original vinyl fortunately came with a 6 page lyric sheet, because the elaborate, articulate poetry Blinko wrote is often buried in layers of distortion and noise, or is barely intelligible. Blinko produces literally dozens of accents in his vocals-he chants, mutters, shrieks, hisses, croons and babbles; it’s an amazing theatrical performance. “Things have learnt to walk that ought to crawl,” he croaks in one interlude. Some pieces are nothing but sounds-chattering teeth, rude squishy noises, wheezing or screaming; others are little collages of tombstone inscriptions or buzzing alien voices.

The music swings between tight little punk gems and ominous droning soundscapes. The catchy hardcore passages throughout the album suggest Zen Arcade vintage Husker Du. In “The Only Child, ” about a bad seed murderous little girl, the delivery is a snarling Exploited style stomp; “Arkham Hearse” swings with a Sex Pistols sneer. “Dream City” warbles like the Buzzcocks: “The weedy old spires like veins in marble/The old gold domes/were just ancestral homes/The citadels of yore with their broken bronze bells/ tottering towers/shadowy staircases/spiral like ammonites…”

Rudimentary Peni, despite some hiatuses, continue to release albums, though nothing has ever topped this perfect storm of cult influences. Cacophony works on many levels-it ranges from being sinister and aggressive to being literate and tongue in cheek. It presents horror with mighty impact but doesn’t take itself too seriously. This highly personal and entertaining experimental album is a neglected masterpiece.

More Nick Blinko Artwork 






COMMENTARY: Starved of Inspiration, the Art World Plunders Outsider Art


Henry Darger “Lagorian Rangers Calverian Girl and Boy Scouts”

IT’S ONLY TRICKY TO DEFINE IF YOUR STARTING POINT IS SNOBBERY: Defining Outsider Art In Anticipation Of The Outsider Art Fair

An Outsider Art article. I have mixed feelings about some of the efforts depicted, but a strong sense the elitist media and arts establishment miss the point here.

In this interview there’s lots of preening, power flexing, and mutual ego stroking on display: “I bought the fair…the press couldn’t stop talking about how the work was so great…the significance of blue chip galleries…I think we’re certainly always looking to enhance the stature of outsider artists.”

As if being noticed by pompous players like this equals stature!

It may mean money for artists, which is good, but it reduces the whole enterprise of art to trophy hunting and status symbols, hinging on the approval and acceptance by a self-important few. The interviewed operator pays some lip service to breaking down the insider/outsider art distinctions, but in the end it’s all about servicing collectors. The Art Fair discussed in the sycophantic interview is being treated as a means to provide the establishment stamp of approval to those who lack the credentials elitists usually rely on as a substitute for achievement.  

The cultural institutions have destroyed their credibility with decades of appalling mismanagement, hyping ideas that have caused a crisis of relevance in the visual arts. So now, to try and revive the sense of liveliness they have smothered in the arts with their useless theories and biases, they need to reach outside their pedantic formulas, and acknowledge those who are working from true personal need and vision. But to what end? Just to have another product to sell.

The so-called outsiders are being summoned by jaded cosmopolitans desperately trying to associate themselves with something genuine. It’s like they’re trying to buy a soul. The elitists learn nothing from the motivation of these artists, the wisdom that comes with creatively documenting individual insights into life.

Art isn’t just a commodity, it is a view into the spirit of the culture. The art usually pushed by our institutions have spectacularly failed to provide that visionary experience to the general audience.

Co-opting the authenticity generated outside of elitist presumptions doesn’t address the fundamental decay at the heart of their hierarchies.

ARTISTS: Thornton Dial

The Ladies Had Knew That (1280x640)

Thornton Dial “African Jungle Picture: The Ladies Had Knew That”

I got to meet artist Thornton Dial once. In Richmond, Virginia the cooperative gallery I was a member of was hosting an exhibit of his works from the collection of Virginia Union University. I had stopped by the gallery the day before the opening and he was just leaving, having come to review the installation. He was a small,  slight man with an intensely focused demeanor. When we shook hands his grip was strong and rough, hands made hard by a lifetime of work.


Thornton Dial “African Athlete”

Dial is a self taught artist from Alabama, born in 1928. He spent the majority of his life in obscurity, just another laborer from the rural South. Dial says of his upbringing, “I come up hard, and I didn’t want to suffer. That will make you work…I done most every kind of work a man can do. Cement work on the highways, pouring iron at Jones Foundry, loaded bricks at Harbison Walker brickyard, did some pipe fitting, worked down at the waterworks, did carpentry and house painting for different white contractors, metalwork—all kind of it—iron and steel at Pullman Standard for about thirty years. I’m a working man.”


“If we going to change the world, we got to look at the little man.” Thornton Dial 

Dial was in his 50s when he got laid off from his job and started welding patio furniture and his own sculptural ideas. His creations caught the attention of art collectors, which started slow rise in recognition. With the support of a patron named Bill Arnett, Dial started to create epic mixed media reliefs and mural sized assemblages, massive installations of salvaged industrial materials gracefully transformed into layered, textured environments. It’s hard to capture their complexity in photographs.


Thornton Dial “Don’t Matter How Raggly The Flag, It Still Got To Tie Us Together”

(mattress coils, chicken wire, clothing, can lids, found metal, plastic twine, wire, Splash Zone compound, enamel, spray paint, on canvas on wood)

This is where the inherent biases and hypocrisies of the establishment art world become apparent. Despite the accomplishment of his works, the cultural elites were more comfortable pigeonholing him into categories like folk or outsider art, denying him his rightful place as a major figure in the artistic development of the United States. In their minds there’s no place among the officially credentialed for a poetic visionary who can’t even read or write.

There are some signs this is changing, and the arbitrary distinctions imposed by the establishment are breaking down. Redemption for the jaded, insular art world is going to have to come from outside their rigid dogmas and corrupt hierarchies.

Thornton Dial says it best: “I know that I don’t have to ask nobody for a license to make art. My art talk about that freedom. People have fought for freedom all over the world. I try to show that struggle. It is a war to be fought. We’re trying to win it.

“It seem like some people believe that just because I ain’t got no education, say I must be too ignorant for art. Seem like some people always going to value the Negro that way. I believe I have proved that my art is about ideas, and about life, and the experience of the world. I have tried to learn how to explain everything I have did. I tried to name everything that could be named about that experience, and if a person still see ignorance in me, he might just be looking into his own self. God made everything so clear that even a fool could not err. At least, even a fool ought to not. Education mean different things. I ain’t never been much good at talking about stuff. I always just done the stuff I had a mind to do. My art do my talking.”

 Struggling Tiger in Hard Times

Thornton Dial “Struggling Tiger in Hard Times”


Thornton Dial “Memory of the Ladies That Gave Us the Good Life”