The Genius of Lowbrow art

When speaking about Lowbrow art, what can we say about an art style that has the ability to both intrigue, and repulse at the same time? Unbeknownst to myself, before I even knew what Lowbrow art was, I was already making art that could be considered Lowbrow. According to artist Robert Williams the founder of the movement, ( not to be mistaken with the famous actor ) Lowbrow art is " Cartoon tainted abstract surrealism ". Basically any art that is far out there, i.e.: think strange, bizarre, humorous, with influences from underground comics, cartoons, and surrealism. Lowbrow art can be seen as the anti " artsy fartsy " uppity art school approach to art creation. A movement that catered to like minded creatives who wanted to create artwork that was highly imaginative. I Harken back to my high school and college days, when I used to draw vulgar, silly, cartoony art in my agendas, and even on top of wooden school desks (  I told you i'm old now lol ) to the amusement of my classmates; I guess this was my first foray into lowbrow. It would take years and years later until I first came across Juxtapoz magazine ( also founded by Williams ) that I became aware of a movement that was right in line with the stuff I was already creating. Looking at the artwork of Mark Ryden, Tara Macpherson, and Kenny Scharf , blew me away!! It further blew my mind, when I realized that most of these artists actually painted their art, and it was not just illustrated. It was upon this discovery that  I embarked to purchase my first set of acrylic paints and brushes! 

 

One of the key aspects of Lowbrow art that has always stood out to me, was this profound emphasis on surrealism and pushing your imagination to the limits. Much of what Lowbrow sought out to achieve in terms of subject matter was not easily grasped by the contemporary masses. The strangeness, and weird imagery was unlike anything seen in most contemporary art galleries. Nonetheless the movement thrived on, with Pop Surrealism becoming a distant cousin to lowbrow art, albeit with more of an emphasis on pop culture references, mixed in with the absurdness of lowbrow. Even today, although my art style has many different influences, Lowbrow still remains one of my key inspirations. This movement gave me the confidence to paint the things I really wanted too. Monsters, sexual innuendos, horror, sci fi, hot rods, surf, skate culture, and underground comics, these are all elements of Lowbrow that throughout the years have served as inspiration to my own paintings and drawings. Without Lowbrow art I would have never been inspired to paint. It was only until I discovered lowbrow that I went on to meet artists who had the same artistic influences and interests. Much can be said as well, for my love of street art and graffiti and comics. As artists we are never just made up of one genre or style, but many. This is what makes most artists special in their unique way, seeing how each individual can add on to the pioneers before us.