Folk art describes a wide range of objects that reflect the craft traditions and traditional social values of various social groups. Folk art is generally produced by people who have little or no academic artistic training, nor a desire to emulate "fine art", and use established techniques and styles of a particular region or culture. Along with painting, sculpture, and other decorative art forms, some also consider utilitarian objects such as tools and costume as folk art.
Antique folk art is distinguished from traditional art in that while it is collected today based mostly on its artistic merit; it was never intended as a category to be art for art’s sake. Examples include: weathervanes, old store signs and carved figures, itinerant portraits, carousel horses, fire buckets, painted game boards, cast iron doorstops and many other similar lines of highly collectible "whimsical" antiques.
Characteristically folk art is not influenced by movements in academic or fine art circles, and, in many cases, folk art excludes works executed by professional artists and sold as "high art" or "fine art" to the society's art patrons. On the other hand, many 18th and 19th century American folk art painters made their living by their work, including itinerant portrait painters, some of whom produced large bodies of work.
Other terms that overlap with folk art are naïve art, Pop art, outsider art, traditional art, "self-taught" art and even "working class" art. As one might expect, all these terms have different connotations; but they are all at times used interchangeably with the term folk art, for which a satisfactory definition has proven hard to come by.
Noted folk artists
- Boleslaw Parasion
- Grego Anderson
- Elito V. Circa
- Justus DaLee
- William Edmondson
- Tom Every's Forevertron
- Howard Finster
- Chris Flesher
- Josh Goodwin
- Theophilos Hatzimihail
- Edward Hicks
- The Highwaymen (artists)
- David Hostetler
- Clementine Hunter
- Joshua Johnson
- Bob Justin
- Frida Kahlo
- Dóra Keresztes
- Arnold Kramer
- Greer Lankton
- Maud Lewis
- Gertrude Morgan
- Grandma Moses
- Ammi Phillips
- Susan Powers
- Mary Michael Shelley
- Leo Smith
- Jimmy Lee Sudduth
- Barbara Steele Thibodeaux
- Edgar Tolson
- Claudia Vecchiarelli
- Enoch Tanner Wickham
- Ruby Williams
- African folk art
- American Folk Art Museum
- Chinese folk art
- Latin American Retablos
- Madhubani painting
- Naïve art
- Nakshi Kantha
- Outsider Art
- Pakistani vehicle art
- Traditional art
- Warli painting
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 West, Shearer (general editor), The Bullfinch Guide to Art History, page 440, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, United Kingdom, 1996. ISBN 0-8212-2137-X
- ↑ Bishop, Robert and Weissman, Judith Reiter. The Knopf Collectors' Guides to American Antiques: Folk Art. Knopf. 1983
Museums, festivals and organizations in the U.S.
- Santa Fe International Folk Art Market
- The Folk Art Society of America
- American Folk Art Museum
- Fenimore Art Museum
- High Museum of Art Atlanta
- University of Kentucky Art Museum
- Kentucky Folk Art Center
Museums and collections in the U.K.
- Compton Verney has the largest collection of British folk art in the country, acquired for the gallery in 1993 to prevent it being split up and sold abroad
- The American Museum in Britain
- Baalart Organization supporting Mexican artisans and promoting unique handmade work.
- Museum of International Folk Art Santa Fe, New Mexico museum with a large collection of folk art from around the world.
- The Who-Ha Da-DA Outsider Artists Fellowship
- The Rochester Folk Art Guild The website for a residential craft community located in upstate New York, specializing in folk art.
- Midwest Decoy Collectors Association The de facto international collectors group.
- Southern Heart Gallery The website for folk art of today and yesterday.
France Midi Canal
- Ecluse de l’Aiguille One man's work on the Canal du Midi
Indian folk art
- Folk Art of India
- Indian Tribal and Folk Arts
- Collection of Indian Folk Designs
- Kala Madhyam Store - Folk and Tribal Art and Craft
- Folkvine: Florida's Art and Artists Online An interactive exploration of folk arts in Florida.
- Folk Figures: A Survey of Norwegian and Norwegian-American Artifacts
- Contemporary Folk Artists from the Southern United States An adjudicated listing of artists (basketmakers, potters, quilters, storytellers, blues and bluegrass artists) compiled by Southern Arts Federation
- Carolina Folk
- Artcyclopedia information.
- Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations
- Folk Art Canada Images, biographies and forums devoted to Canadian folk art.
- Folk Arts Hungary Articles, handmade embroideries dedicated to the Hungarian folk art.
- CBC Digital Archives – Handmade in Canada: The Art of Craft
- Podcast by expert Bev Norwood
- The Finest Folk Art collection