I’m a big fan of the so-called ‘loose cannons’ of society

Ian Humphrey

I’m a big fan of the so-called ‘loose cannons’ of society. Take ‘outsider art’, for example. It was traditionally an art form made by prisoners and the mentally ill, those outside of the norms of established society, although it now encompasses art made by all uneducated artists. It is thinly concealed chaos and often has a kind of friendly anarchy. It can be confused with folk art, but it lacks that discipline’s cultural focus.

It remains predominantly outside of the mainstream art world and always off the ‘cool’ radar, which is one of the reasons I love it. It has influenced the mainstream through pop art, hot rods, sci-fi, tattoos and fantasy imagery, but really has roots in Dada and Art Brut. I like the idea of a loose interpretation of the normal rules of design, as it often brings up much more interesting and inspirational ideas.

It’s undoubtedly one of the main influences of the current lo-fi, handmade trend sweeping across art and design. It’s like the improvisational style of the film director Mike Leigh. You can see that the idea of making things up as you go along leads you off the beaten track and into somewhere refreshing and new.

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