Woody Guthrie Artworks
Publication Date: October 25, 2005
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Songwriter, poet, writer, political activist . . . and, perhaps most fundamental to his work but least known about Woody Guthrie, artist. "Contrary to popular mythology, it was with paint brushes in hand, not a guitar, that Guthrie hit the road for California. He had hocked his guitar . . . and it was his artistic skills that he brokered for room and board." So begins Nora's fascinating revelations about her father's vast body of artwork. Other than the drawings for his autobiography, Bound for Glory, few have seen Guthrie's art. This is because much of it is inextricably bound into diaries and work books into which he poured his images, and which are presented here for the first time. Guthrie worked as a commercial artist, illustrating album covers, books, and newspaper columns, and kept a daily record of his life, and of American life, in thousands of pictures. Some complement song-writing in such a fluid way that they often appear interwoven with handwritten lyrics. The stinging honesty, humor, and wit found in his music are also to be found in his art, layering our understanding of his social, political, and spiritual life. In more than 300 examples, his visual creativity is apparent, from political cartoons to bawdy and comical gouaches to children's art to abstract emotional outpourings. Drawing extensively on Guthrie's words, Brower unveils an enhanced portrait of one of America's greatest creative forces.
Steven Brower is an award-winning graphic designer and writer working in New York City.Nora Guthrie, directs the Woody Guthrie Archives, which opened in 1996.