The phrase "folk art," which first appeared in the nineteenth century as art made by self-trained craftspeople, now refers to an enormously diverse variety of art, ranging from manufactured objects and signage to paintings and furniture. Consider commerce signs and figures, painted utilitarian things, and handcrafted presents. All can be classified as folk art.
Folk art is art made by ordinary people who are not professional artists. It consists mainly of items used by everyday people for decoration or utility. Artisan craftsmen often created their works for sale, but not all sellers of folk art were artisanal artists themselves. Some sold their work solely by word of mouth, others through commercial galleries or museums.
Folk art has many different names, including urban art, outsider art, grassroots art, homemade art, home-made art, one-of-a-kind art, and custom art. The term "outsider art" was coined in 1968 by English critic Robert Hughes to describe art made by people outside the traditional art world. Folk artists are usually not considered "outstanding" artists because they do not show at major exhibitions. They may receive some recognition though, such as with awards from national organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
People have been making art for thousands of years. Early works include cave drawings and pottery, but over time artists began to use more expensive materials such as wood, metal, and glass.
To put it another way, "folk art" is a phrase used by 19th century white Christian well-educated urbanites to characterize the quaint arts and crafts of rural civilizations. Because the notion was developed by cultural historians, it omitted the arts from the main civilizations (e.g., China).
Folk art takes many forms including paintings, drawings, carvings, woven goods, furniture, and even toys. It can be found worldwide in cultures with an ancient heritage. The term "folk artist" is also used for individuals who do not receive formal artistic training but who still create beautiful objects using traditional methods. In Europe, North America, and Australia, artists who work in a folk tradition are called "craftsmen". In Japan, they are called "artisans".
The history of folk art can be traced back as far as 3000 B.C. when cave paintings were created by members of prehistoric societies. Carved wooden figures dating from about 500 B.C. have been discovered in Egypt. These early works of art were done on the orders of Pharaohs and included representations of their dreams or nightmares.
In Europe, medieval peasants created paintings and carvings which are known today as elements of farmhouse decor - such as oxen, pigs, and horses. These works of art provide evidence that some farmers had the financial means to hire artists.
Folk art includes a variety of utilitarian and ornamental mediums, such as cloth, wood, paper, clay, metal, and others. Folk art is created by people whose creative abilities express their community's real cultural identity rather than an individual or distinctive aesthetic identity. Thus, the term "folk art" describes a very large category that includes many different types of work.
Some artists identify themselves as folk artists because they use items from their environment to create works for sale. This method of making art is called "relief carving" and can be done with almost any material you can imagine. People often use stone, wood, metal, or even glass for their carvings. In fact, most pieces of folk art are made from single objects rather than multiple parts pieced together. The more complex the item, the more skilled the artist so consider yourself lucky if you can see any detail in your chosen piece of folk art.
Other artists might call themselves folk artists because they use simple tools to create unique artwork. You can be sure that any old knife will do, as long as it has a sharp point and a straight edge. These artists usually carve on wooden boards or other non-flammable materials.
Still others may use the title "folk artist" because of where they live or how old they are.
Folk art is anchored in community and cultural traditions, and it expresses cultural identity through transmitting shared communal values and aesthetics. It is produced by individuals or groups who are not formally trained as artists but who create works according to their own aesthetic sensibilities.
Folk art provides a way for people who do not have access to materials that would allow them to express themselves artistically, to still have a voice in the global culture. It allows them to communicate ideas and feelings about life experiences directly into the public eye. Artistic expressions can be found in many different cultures around the world, showing that there is no one specific definition of folk art.
In today's society, mass-produced goods have become a part of everyday life for many people. This has caused concern among some scholars about the loss of cultural identity that this phenomenon represents. Folk art provides an alternative means of artistic expression that does not involve using material possessions to show off one's creativity. Instead, it is used to transmit important ideas and stories from generation to generation without needing permission from anyone else. Folk art reminds us that even though we may live in a technologically advanced society, there is still much to be learned from people who have gone before us.
As one might guess, these phrases can have a variety of and sometimes contentious implications, although they are frequently used interchangeably with the term "folk art." Folk art communicates common communal values and aesthetics, hence expressing cultural identity. It includes a variety of utilitarian and ornamental mediums such as fabric, wood, paper, clay, metal, and others. Artistic skills are often not required to create folk art.
Folk art also refers to the actual crafts or products made by people for their own use or for sale. This type of art is very diverse and includes items such as clothing, toys, tools, and even food. It is difficult to define exactly what constitutes folk art because it varies so much from culture to culture and over time within cultures. For example, costumes at one time would have been considered folk art but today many people choose to buy them instead of making them themselves for several reasons: some people may not have the necessary skills to make certain items (such as sewing clothes), while others may not want to spend a lot of time making something that will only last a few years before becoming outdated.
Even though folk art refers to things made by ordinary people that communicate cultural values, it does not necessarily do so intentionally. For example, artists in developing countries often use simple materials like cloth and junk electronics because they cannot afford better tools or materials. The resulting works of art may look different from those made by people in developed countries because of economic constraints rather than any difference in aesthetic value.