Self-Taught Artist – “Outsider” Artist
Dial, who passed away at 87 years old on January 2016 is a self-taught African American artist who came to prominence in the United States in the late 1980s.
Thornton Dial was born in 1928 in Emelle, Alabama. He began farm work when we was five years old and attended school rarely.
From childhood on, Dial built “things” using whatever he could salvage, recycling even his own work to reuse materials in new creations. Dial referred to what he made only as “things,” though late in life he found out that others call them “art.”
His principal place of employment was the Pullman Company in Bessemer, Alabama working as a machinist, until the company closed its doors in 1981. After the Pullman factory shut down, Dial began to dedicate himself to his art for his own pleasure.
He was ‘discovered’ by Bill Arnett, an Atlanta-based collector of art made by black Southerners. And the rest as they say, is history.
Many of Dials art pieces fetch in the upwards of 12,000 each.
What is Outsider Art?
The term outsider art was coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for raw art or rough art (untrained artists), a label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture. More here