Henry Darger (1892-1973) was the Outsider artist ne plus ultra. He was born and lived his entire life in Chicago. His mother died when he was still a child and as his father could not support him Henry was institutionalised in the Illinois Asylum for Feeble-Minded Children for 'self abuse', a euphemism for masturbation rather than self-harm (glad I grew up in more enlightened times).
Aged around 16 he managed to escape, headed back to Chicago and found work as a janitor at a Catholic hospital, a position which he retained for the rest of his life and paid enough for him to feed himself, rent a small apartment, and pay for sketchbooks and art materials. He would scrimp enough to buy photographic enlargements of magazine illustrations (pre-Xerox) which he would trace with carbon paper because he felt he could not draw figures well enough.
|At Cairns Fair, Violets sisters comes to he rescue and all the officers except cannon are captured. Note the strange phenomena.|
|At Jennie Richee. Hard pressed and harassed by the storm.|
|At Norma Catherine. But wild thunderstorm with cyclone like wind saves them.|
|Place not mentioned. Esposide 3 2 Escape with great number of kids still fighting.|
|Selection of Darger sketchbooks from National Folk Museum archive|
|Child headed whiplash tail Blengins, Blengiglom-enean Island.|
Jessica Yu's documentary In the Realms of the Unreal (2004) is well worth viewing (full version on YouTube) for it's animated drawings and further detail on the life of this remarkable artist. I have the poster on my kitchen wall and enjoy Henry's company whenever it's time to eat.