Who is Bill Traylor- American folk artist

Bill Traylor, Southern Self-Taught Artist Born into Slavery     

Bill Traylor was an African-American artist born into slavery in the mid-1800’s, incredibly beginning his career as a self-taught artist at the age of 85  Some of his most notable works of art were those that depicted his memories of plantation life in Montgomery, Alabama.

Bill Traylor folk artist

Born on April 1, 1854, Traylor’s family were slaves who continued to farm after emancipation.  When Traylor was 85 years old, he slept in a back room of a funeral home after moving to Montgomery from Benton in Lowndes County.  During daylight hours, Traylor would use supplies he had found such as cardboard pieces from shirt packaging and pencil stubs to create his impression of the people he saw passing by, and of plantation life as he remembered it from his youth.  He would then exhibit his drawings by hanging them on a fence for passers-by to see.

From that point until he was close to 90, Traylor would produce more than 1,200 drawings.  While his art was simplistic, mostly delineated geometric forms and figures, Traylor’s works of art never gained attention and popularity until nearly 30 years after his death.  While his drawings were exhibited at a show organized by Victor E. D’Amico in New York in 1942, none of Traylor’s artwork sold.  It was only in the late 1970’s when Traylor’s drawings became recognized and popular with the public as well as critics.  Charles Shannon, a painter who Traylor had met in his later years and who had purchased art supplies for Traylor, had kept his friend’s drawings over the years before unveiling them to museum and art dealers and professionals.

Some of the art work created by Traylor were done simply with pencil and “found” cardboard scraps, while others included poster paint, colored pencils, and crayons.  Much of his work is called “startlingly” modernistic; today, his work has become some of the most sought-after of that created by self-taught artists.

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           ---information above appeared online artanddesigninspiration.com  

If you want to see more samples of Traylor's works click here.