I became interested in folk and outsider art after working on a couple of related books at my job, so this article from the Sunday New York Times caught my eye. It’s about Renaldo Kuhler, a Raleigh, N.C.-based artist who, like Henry Darger, has created an imaginary world called Rocaterrania. He’s cultivated the place for the past 60 years, inventing a love interest, a language and an alphabet. The 76-year-old Kuhler has dressed like a Rocaterranian (pictue Sherlock Holmes meets a very hip elf) since college because, “It’s better to be a minute entity than a nonentity.”

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[Kuhler drawing, courtesy brettingram.org]

That’s what makes Kuhler such a bad-ass. He a brilliantly gifted illustrator, sure. But even better, he’s never stopped, or maybe didn’t know he started, living very certainly in a glassy-eyed reality. Which happens to sound pretty terrific, especially these days.

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[Kuhler’s map of Rocaterrania, courtesy brettingram.org]

Kuhler’s work will be featured in a group show at a American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore this October, and the documentary Rocaterrania starts the festival circuit this spring. Check out the trailer here.


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