Howdy! Welcome to Outsider ArtWork By Manic Mark Betcher.
This is his wonderful changeable home page. A place where art never sleeps... is always cranky... and sometimes sticky...
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Howdy! I’m Your Real Fake Outsider Artist Manic Mark
I was 8 years old and digging through a pile of drawings that I found in an old box. My Dad drew comic books when he was about eight years old. These were his drawings. His art inspired me to do my art.
Both my Grandfathers were self-trained artists. But I paid little attention to the oil painting of a knight on a horse hidden in the bedroom closet or the painting of a moose that hung on our living room wall.
I wish that I had kept my first drawings. On typing paper, I drew army men with arms and legs blown off. I had a red pen, so I drew blood. I showed the drawing to my mother who looked at it with concern and said, “You are sick”. I was undeterred and favored my red pen.
In the second grade we made sawdust and glue snowmen. While most kids were sticking bits of ribbon and glitter to their snowmen I was making sawdust and glue eyeballs. We also made ashtrays for our parents.
My father would have been happier if I been interested in baseball. However, he signed me up for The Famous Artist School mail order course rather then Little League. I learned how to mix brown paint but was confused by everything else.
One night, my Dad took me to a local bible college to hear a published comic book artist give a talk. After his talk, I ran up and asked him if he had any advice on how I could become a comic book artist. He looked at me with dismay, because I had missed the point of his lecture. God was the answer, not comic books.
I made more eyeballs in high school. The editor of our high school literary magazine told me that my poem about suicide was rather crass.
My guidance counselor pointed out that I was better suited to a career as a small appliance repairman.
I won a semester scholarship to an art school. My parents insisted that I get out of the house. I went to college.
College was confusing and unpleasant. One professor commented, in front of the everyone, that my paintings looked as though I had thrown up my breakfast. I probably had, having been drunk the night before.
Another professor was not happy that I was writing words on my artwork. Few people had ever heard of Folk Art.
I received a D grade in painting. The professor told me that “I will not teach anyone to paint who doesn’t already know how to paint.”
One day, I noticed a student nailing three salvaged doors together. He said he was doing art and explained his process. The explanation did not include the obvious, that he was nailing doors together.
I was hired by a greeting card company. One day my art director, a woman who wore the same slacks to work every day, made awful faces while doing something with a brush to one of my cards. I refused to finish that clown painting. I was fired shortly thereafter.
For something to do, I submitted a few cartoons to Hustler Magazine. They sent one back with a note stating that my drawing was too tasteless for the most tasteless cartoon page.
I created a portfolio of boring art. I got a job but made art they hated. The hated art won awards.
They sent me to a workshop. The famous guy running the thing told me that I was a “rebel”. I drank a lot that weekend.
A person once asked me to paint a duck on their mail box. They were offended when I said no. They thought that I was a real artist.
I painted on salvaged wood in my free time. I was invited to see a private folk art collection. Folk art? When I saw those paintings I knew that I was a folk artist. It would take another 15 years before I would discover that I was not a folk artist and I better sure as hell not call myself one.
I started a business building websites. I acquired costly office space but spent much of my time at home painting on scrap wood. I sold paintings on ebay for $10 each even though I could make $75 an hours building websites.
One day I ran into a folk art collector. Folk art? When I excitedly told him that I did folk art. He laughed in my face.
My wife looked at a sculpture that I was building in our living room and said “We are going to starve.” I laugh about that moment while we starve to death.
An art gallery on the east coast sold a painting for me. The person that bought the painting returned it because he had determined that I was not a real folk artist. Apparently the art was real, but I was not.
I do not research art or follow trends. I do not attend classes or lectures. I do not read art history books. Leave me alone!
I wondered how anyone could be taught how to paint “folk” in school.
Labels. You need to keyword your website. Real outsider artists seem to find other people to do that for them.
I asked this question with sincerity: Am I an outsider artist?
No, I’m me.
But who is going to google Manic Mark?