What is Folk Art?

Folk Art

Folk art is a form of visual art that is made in the context of folk culture. It is different than fine art and often involves portraits, landscapes or abstracted depictions.

It is also about preserving cultural traditions and heritage. It also serves as a way for people to express themselves without having to be judged by the experts.

Definition

Folk Art is a broad category of artistic expression that is rooted in traditions that come from community and culture. It expresses cultural identity by conveying shared aesthetics and values of a society, often through utilitarian or ornamental media including wood, cloth, paper, clay, metal and more.

Traditional artists are primarily self-taught and typically learn skills in informal community settings such as performance, by example or through oral tradition among families, friends, neighbors and co-workers. As cultures change, traditional artists innovate within the conventions of their traditions.

In preindustrial communal societies, knowledge and skills were personal and traditionally handed down to one generation after the next, resulting in distinctively hand-made, one-of-a-kind objects. These unique crafted pieces are the core of folk art, which is still being produced today in many regions worldwide.

History

Folk art is a type of artistic production produced by artists who are untrained in academic art. It is made using at-hand materials and can be spontaneous, colorful, whimsical, and thought-provoking.

Unlike other genres of art, which may have a precise style and specific time period, folk art is a broad category that can encompass many styles and cultures. Examples of folk art include 17th century textiles, early 20th century painted wooden sculpture, or a contemporary mixed media painting.

The term “folk art” was originally used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as art historians and collectors sought to bring more attention to arts outside of the mainstream or thought to be more representative of regional styles. Today, folk art has its own voice within the artistic community and has become an important force in connoisseurship. The field is now a major contributor to the world’s museums and auction houses. It has also made a significant contribution to the development of the visual arts in Latin America.

Origins

The origins of Folk Art are often obscure. Many of the artists producing folk art have no formal training, are self-taught, and primarily focus on regional traditions and aesthetics.

The term “folk art” refers to a broad genre of visual arts, encompassing painting, sculpture, textiles and other crafts. It also encompasses a wide range of cultural values and themes such as religion, mythology and architectural design.

Some examples of folk art are carved and painted wooden statues, ornamental picture frames, quilting and other crafts made by rural and ethnic minority communities around the world. These pieces are often created as a way to celebrate their history and heritage, while highlighting community values.

In contrast to the sophisticated forms that evolved in the pre-Columbian era, folk art is usually made by hand and not by machine. It may be ephemeral, designed to last only for a short time, such as the marriage bowl broken after the ceremony or paper objects burned at funerals.

Examples

Folk Art is a genre of art that has been created throughout the centuries. It is a type of art that aims to express a culture’s identity and values.

Typically, this type of art incorporates different materials, including wood, cloth, metal, and paper. It can also include a variety of techniques, such as painting, pottery, and sculpture.

Examples of Folk Art can be found all over the world. The Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, claims to have the largest collection of folk art in the world.

In a typical situation, folk art preserves its traditional forms over long periods. However, it is possible for this tradition to change due to individual innovation. This is what helps to explain the continued popularity of quilting, ornamental picture framing, and decoy carving.

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