Examples of Folk Art In Photos

What Is Folk Art?

I ran across this question recently and set out to answer it. I have to say that the more I looked, the more conflicting information I ran across. In this article,my aim is to set forth several photos* that I believe to be examples of folk art. I will accompany each with a brief notation. Please be advised that this article is likely to change and grow as I learn more!

What I hope to show here are examples of folk art that embody the qualities most associated with it. That is, items made by the people of a specific area and society using techniquesand materials that are typical to that area. The items will not necessarily be art. They may be beautiful every day items. And, most importantly, the artists might not necessarily be artists. They may just be folks who wanted to make something both useful and beautiful.

But this is not always the case. Sometimes, folk art is just art...as you will see!

I hope you will comment, make suggestions, and recommendations! I intend to keep adding to this article as my understanding of the subject grows.

(*PHOTO CREDITS may be found below the COMMENTS section.)

Is Folk Art Always Old?

No! Folk Art is being created every day! It is made by folks in every culture! This is a modern folk art painting on ceramic from the US Southwest.
No! Folk Art is being created every day! It is made by folks in every culture! This is a modern folk art painting on ceramic from the US Southwest.

Is Folk Art Always Art?

Not necessarily.  This palm frond bowl from Hawaii is both practical and useful.  Made by a native Hawaiian, from local materials, using traditional techniques, it is folk art.
Not necessarily. This palm frond bowl from Hawaii is both practical and useful. Made by a native Hawaiian, from local materials, using traditional techniques, it is folk art.

Do Folk Artists Go To Art School?

Probably not!  Folk artists usually learn their craft from a relative or a skilled crafts person within their community.  This Peruvian folk artist creates practical, beautiful, wearable works of art (like the one on his head!)
Probably not! Folk artists usually learn their craft from a relative or a skilled crafts person within their community. This Peruvian folk artist creates practical, beautiful, wearable works of art (like the one on his head!)

So...Is All Folk Art Practical?

No! Sometimes it is just beautiful like this Ecuadorian painting depicting a village. This painting was created by a local, using traditional techniques.  It reflects daily life, and it is folk art.
No! Sometimes it is just beautiful like this Ecuadorian painting depicting a village. This painting was created by a local, using traditional techniques. It reflects daily life, and it is folk art.

Do I Have Folk Art in My House?

Probably!  This quilt is very like some I grew up with.  They were created by local artists, my grandmother and great grandmother, using local materials (scraps) and a technique consistent with that of local artists - quilting.
Probably! This quilt is very like some I grew up with. They were created by local artists, my grandmother and great grandmother, using local materials (scraps) and a technique consistent with that of local artists - quilting.

Is Folk Art Strictly a Visual Art?

No! Music and local musical instruments can be considered folk art.
No! Music and local musical instruments can be considered folk art.

Must Folk Art Follow A Specific Style?

No.  It must just be representative of the culture in which it was created.
No. It must just be representative of the culture in which it was created.

Is There A Limit Of The Types Of Media That Are Acceptable?

No!  Practical, beautiful, crafted by local artisans in a style consistent with and representative of the culture, these hand painted Mexican toilets are folk art!
No! Practical, beautiful, crafted by local artisans in a style consistent with and representative of the culture, these hand painted Mexican toilets are folk art!

Is Folk Art Just Crafts, Painting, and Sewing?

No!  Many practical items like this weather vane and other decorative hardware are considered folk art.
No! Many practical items like this weather vane and other decorative hardware are considered folk art.

Can New And Old Be Combined?

Yes!  This metal craft mobile made of old salvaged bits of iron does just that.
Yes! This metal craft mobile made of old salvaged bits of iron does just that.

Can I Make Folk Art?

Yes!  It is just important to remember that if you want to be authentic, you should choose a medium that is typical to your locale.  Study it carefully.  Then render your work in a way that reflects the traditions and thoughts of your cultural group.
Yes! It is just important to remember that if you want to be authentic, you should choose a medium that is typical to your locale. Study it carefully. Then render your work in a way that reflects the traditions and thoughts of your cultural group.

Folk Art Properly Rendered Can Become History

Mrs. Bill Stagg with state quilt, Pie Town, New Mexico (LOC) Photographer: Library of Congress Licensing Agreement: Public Domain
Mrs. Bill Stagg with state quilt, Pie Town, New Mexico (LOC) Photographer: Library of Congress Licensing Agreement: Public Domain

Comments 26 comments

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 8 years ago

Neat hub. Folk art is all around us. My mom and I were browsing around and had to look closely at your Brightly colored LOGO. We love it. Be well and good luck with your online sales.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 8 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you! :)


worddsplaytoday profile image

worddsplaytoday 8 years ago from NC

loved your photos


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 8 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks! :)


NINI 7 years ago

Dam Beautiful


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks!


Sammin 7 years ago

That's good.


Sammin 7 years ago

There are many folk around us. I could even make some of them by myself. I think the folk art could be create generation by generation. There are always some difference between new generation and the old one. Thanks for sharing the pictures. It's very beautiful.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 7 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you! Yes, folk art does change from generation to generation! :)


Alice combes 6 years ago

Great article! I'm learning folk art but it is so hard to find annoying about it cos it seems people just - do it. Luckily I think it comes naturally to me, at least I hope so, but I'm working my way to developing my work into art!

Thank you so much!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas Author

My pleasure! I'm glad you liked the article! :)


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

Great topic! Scintillating to the eyes and stimulating to the brain. Thanks for putting such a great hub together. Rated up and beautiful and awesome.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks! :)


lualhati 5 years ago

hi im so imper for the art


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks! :)


mabmiles profile image

mabmiles 5 years ago

Great hub.Wonderful folk arts!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 5 years ago from Texas Author

I'm glad you like it! Thank you! :)


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico

I fell in love with those Mexican toilets!!!!!! As weird as it may sound, I live in Mexico and had never seen them, they are brilliant!

Thanks for the link! :)


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks Claudia! I know! They are really fancy! ;D I like the fact that folk art consists of practical items made beautiful and decorative! Thanks for your comment! :)


carlarmes profile image

carlarmes 4 years ago from Bournemouth, England

really enjoyed your hub, lovely pictures and useful content, I like folk art and visiting folk festivals in Dorset.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks, Carl! :)


mvillecat profile image

mvillecat 4 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

My husband and I collect southern folk art. Mostly pottery but some paintings as well. I am also a quilter and collect quilts. I voted up.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas Author

Many thanks! :)


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

You have nicely shown that folk art can be in all mediums. Even some furniture can be considered folk art. Well done! Up and interesting votes.


Indian Chef profile image

Indian Chef 3 years ago from New Delhi India

Wow so beautiful.. really loved watching the pictures. Voted up and awesome.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas Author

I'm glad you liked it. Thank you for viewing and commenting! :)

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    Photo Credits

    All photos are from everystockphoto.com

    Black Angel Photographer: ugaldew: everystockphoto.com Stock Exchange Image License Agreement: http://www.sxc.hu/info.phtml?f=help&s=8_2

    PALM LEAF BOWL Photographer: wayfaring stranger: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

    KNITTING Photographer: quinet: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

    EQUADORIAN FOLK Photographer: quil: everystockphoto.com Stock Exchange Image License Agreement: http://www.sxc.hu/info.phtml?f=help&s=8_2 

    MULTICOLOR STAR BLOCK Photographer: onebyjude: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

    PAN FLUTE Photographer: surely: everystockphoto.com Stock Exchange Image License Agreement: http://www.sxc.hu/info.phtml?f=help&s=8_2 

    QUILTS Photographer:Paul Jerry: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/ 

    HANDPAINTED CERAMIC TOILETS Photographer: Cameron Nordholm: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/ 

    DUCKS IN A ROW Photographer: Bob McInnes: everstockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/ 

    Iron Horn Fabricated by Ernie Ahrens, at the Community Folk Art Center Exhibition "The Whipping Post" (Syracuse, NY) Photographer: takomabibelot: everystockphoto.com Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/ 

    CROCHETED AFGHAN Photographer: *waterlily* : EVERYSTOCKPHOTO.COM Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/ 

    Mrs. Bill Stagg with state quilt, Pie Town, New Mexico (LOC) Photographer: Library of Congress Licensing Agreement: Public Domain    

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