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James Castle: Portrait of an Artist
A film by Jeffrey Wolf

53 minutes, documentary, color, English, 2008

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Synopsis

Born deaf in 1899 in rural Idaho – only nine years after that frontier territory was admitted to the Union – James Castle mined the local landscape of his family's homesteads and his own deeply private world to produce an astonishing body of drawings, collages, and constructions that eventually gained worldwide recognition.

Jeffrey Wolf's acclaimed film reveals Castle’s life and creative process, as told by family members, art historians, curators, artists, collectors, and members of the deaf community. This inspirational story of a true Outsider Artist is a remarkable example of the triumph of the spirit – and the imagination.


Reviews

"An excellent film." - Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum of Art

"Evocative, beautifully shot and absorbing, with a refreshing lack of sentimentality."
- Art in America

"Castle’s life is truly inspirational, and his art can be sublime: a fierce creative vision fueled by determination and endless patience. The life must emerge in the art, and in this film it does so eloquently." - Philadelphia Inquirer


Recommended Reading

James Castle: A Retrospective ed. Ann Percy

James Castle: His Life & Art by Tom Trusky

Everyday Genius: Self-Taught Art and the Culture of Authenticity by Gary Alan Fine


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