First published:Summer 2004
Whenever Elizabeth Layton found herself labeled a ‘self-taught artist,’ she would offer two corrections. First, she had attended one art course (when she was 68 at a college near her hometown in Kansas) and was, therefore, not ‘self-taught.’ Second, she didn't much like the label of ‘artist’ either because of the baggage, attitudes and expectations it carries. Instead, she described herself simply as ‘a housewife and a drawer of pictures.’
This ‘drawer’ and these ‘pictures’ have attracted critical and popular attention. One-person exhibits of Layton’s quirky self-portraits, which are sometimes humorous and sometimes devastating, have now been in nearly 250 art museums from coast to coast in the US.
More important to her, however, was that the drawing process allowed her to cure a depression she had battled for half her life. The drawings and the story behind them prompted one art critic to write, ‘Considering her background, I am tempted to call Layton a genius.’
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #47.