Self Taught By Tim Kerr, 66 pgs.

Jul 20, 2022

As a lover of so-called outsider art, I was quite excited to check out Self Taught by Tim Kerr, whom many of you will know as the guitarist for the ’80s Texas band the Big Boys (although he has been in numerous other bands as well). The book contains photographs of (generally) large-scale outdoor artworks, as well as portraits of the artists who created them. The photos and portraits were done by Tim Kerr, and the portraits include quotes by, I assume, the artists. Some are wonderful—(“You take nothing and make something. That’s what brings people together.” –either Sam Mackey or Tyree Guyton)—and some are a bit odd but also wonderful (“You’ll be able to time travel! It will have thought patterns and healing powers and all that.” –Dr. Evermor), which for me kind of sums up a lot of outsider art. Favorite quote: “I was known as the witch but it didn’t interrupt my fun at all.” –Mary Nohl. Go, Mary!

Being unfamiliar with Tim Kerr’s visual art, it was cool to check out his portraits, which are colorful and have a very distinct style. Additionally, although I have had the pleasure of visiting five of the spots featured in the book, there are many more I haven’t been to, and I can now plan some trips to see them! Self Taught also comes with a download code for instrumental music by the band Up Around The Sun (Tim Kerr on guitar and harmonica, Jerry Haggins on banjo, and assorted others on fiddles); not exactly my cup of tea, but something that may be enjoyable for people who like banjo porch music. This book is a celebration of self-expression, which is, in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of the punk ethos. Recommended! –J. Federico (Don Giovanni, dongiovannirecords.com)

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