NOW: In 2015 Paul and I sold our suburban home and moved to the city. I took over our one-car garage and started experimenting with spray paint and house paint on masonite. Paul continued to commute each morning to our hair salon/gallery and in January 2017 we sold the hair business. Now, untethered to a brick and mortar space, we've decided to rework our website so we still have a presence for promoting and selling art. Let's see where this goes!
THEN: In summer of 1998 our friend and mentor, Belgian art dealer Martine Parmentier committed suicide. Rather than let her amazing art collection be shipped to auction, we made a quick decision to proceed in her footsteps and buy the collection, as she had asked us to weeks earlier. After securing funds, we found ourselves in the presence of almost 500 pieces of assorted "outsider art" works without our mentor to guide us. As we unloaded the rental truck, my mother shook her head in disbelief at the things we unloaded. She kept her doubts to herself as we perused our bounty, not knowing where to begin.
From Martine, we had collected outsider art for almost two years. Although we had amassed a sizable group of paintings, we had focused on only a few artists. This newly acquired collection was comprised of works by artists who were completely unknown to us. We were newbies...we knew NOTHING! The task fell to us to research these pieces and artists so we could be informed before we tried to sell to the public. We wondered if we were the only people on the planet who liked this stuff!
Pouring over outsider and folk art books for the better part of two months, packing up and heading for the L.A. flea markets every other weekend, we worked on building a client base. (as Martine had done) We were weary and worn from those grueling trips and a friend suggested a website. What a marvelous idea, except we were both slightly computer illiterate.
With a couple of weeks of training on Dreamweaver, our website was born. It was always very rudimentary, but surprisingly, in the first year our gallery was a complete success! Things went well for 12 years, until the art market took a terrible hit between 2009 and 2010, and we found ourselves dead in the water. But now we've returned. Paul and I have sold our brick and mortar hair salon/gallery in Ocean Beach, and we've settled into San Diego's gritty East Village. I've made our garage my art studio and have started experimenting with spray paint and stencils. I'll still paint a portrait or two when inspired, but alter ego Aidan Rose has retired for now.
Lynne and Paul Bolton
OUTSIDER ART-Where it all started.
This genre is called by many names: Low Brow, Art Brut, Self Taught, Naive, Folk Art, and Outsider, however it all comes down to the same thing; art made by hand by people who are "outside" of the mainstream, and who have not been professionally trained in the arts. The terminology is indicative of art made by those on the "outside" or those who have been institutionalized or are considered unconventional in their thinking. That meaning has been watered down somewhat since the genre gained popularity beginning in the late 1980's. On this site, we use the terms OUTSIDER and SELF TAUGHT synonymously to describe the work within our gallery, and don't get caught up in the rhetoric. The bottom line is that each artist is unique and has a story about why they do what they do. Some paint from visions, some from a political point of view and still others from the view just outside their window. The common thread is that alhtough they are not schooled in art, they are compelled to create for sheer joy or the release of something built up inside of them. Sometimes, outsider art illustrates extreme mental states, unconventional ideas, or elaborate fantasy worlds. It can be a way for them to relay a message or an escape from reality. Outsider art has emerged as a successful art marketing category (an annual Outsider Art Fair has taken place in New York since 1993).
In 2004 we were thrilled to host some artist friends from NOLA, including Ste. James Boudrot and the artistic crew from the New Orleans HOB. They were painting the interior of our new San Diego HOB and after a barbecue at our home, they decided our pillars were much too boring!