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Dwight Mackintosh 1906-1999

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Dwight Mackintosh, portrait by Julie Polunsky, Creative Growth Art Center, Oakland.

Dwight Mackintosh was interned in a mental institution at the age of 16, having become “unmanageable at home”, only to be released a lifetime later at the age of 72. On his release he was encouraged to attend sessions at the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, California, and began to draw. He is said to have undertaken drawing with an obsessive vigour, hurriedly crossing out mistakes as he went. His urge to create far surpassed the need for quality materials, and the end results had little meaning to him. 

Using felt-tipped pens and coloured pencils on white paper, a line is scribbled over the paper, creating his signature text, whirls and swirling figures. There are few, basic colours in his artwork. Areas of blue may represent the sky. Green may symbolise grass. Mackintosh obsessively explored two main themes in his work: the human figure and transport. The “Boys” series of drawings depict groups of distorted human male figures with large heads and over-sized penises. He also drew transparent cars and buses, based on images he may have recalled from his boyhood before his hospitalisation. Written text-forms also appear in his work, flowing above and around his subjects. Most text is illegible, with the exception of a few stray words.

Image: Dwight Mackintosh, Untitled, 1996. Courtesy: Creative Growth Art Center.Image: Dwight Mackintosh, Male Figure, 1984. Courtesy: Collection de l'Art Brut.

As seen in The Outsider Art Sourcebook

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