Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Lonely Man with Paint in His Hand

I don't really know where to begin when it comes to Henry Darger. When most people see this film they think well he was crazy and leave it at that, and do not really look into why he did what he did. Henry experienced some grueling things as a child but he was no the only child who experienced it. It was his choice of how to deal with his experiences that crafted what he became, an outsider artist. Instead of dealing with his feelings by sharing them with others his closed them off only to himself. He had no roll model to look up to so there was no one to tell him wrong from right. Being bossed around by adults made him resent them but it was not until his religious views of adults came in that he completely despised them all together. Children his age wouldn't understand his problems and he did not trust adults so he kept his life to himself. Isolation became his coping mechanism, a way to get away from his problems. humans are social creatures so when you cant make real connections with other humans your brain will create those connections with other things. That is why some children create imaginary friends.

Darger did not like adults so he refused to become one causing his mind to stay in an adolescent state. He isolated himself for so long that he began talking to himself as a way to interact with some one, acting like other people instead of actually talking to those other people. When he created his own story he lived his life through it. When he was happy the story was happy when he became depressed the story changed with accordingly. He did not create his art to be seen by anyone so I don't know that it was meant to be art at all. He created it to have a physical manifestation of who he was seeing in his mind. When he finally got good enough and created these people he became completely enveloped and obsessed with them. he did not need anyone else. his characters could not lie to him they could not defy or hurt him. He was in complete control and he could speak what ever he desired in complete contrast with his regular life. what he lacked in the real world he had surplus in his own.

He did not expect anyone to see his art. One man on the video said that when he told Henry that he thought his art was beautiful Henry was shocked. But I don't think it was because he was surprised the man liked it, but because he did not think anyone would see it and the fact that it was just that, art. It was such a concrete exposing realization for him. his creations were only art that no one would understand. The moment he realized this, that all his pictures were just art, it might have been a little embarrassing for him. this whole world he lived in his whole life was just art on a wall that people wouldn't know really what it looked like and meant in his mind. I think the realization that his life was nothing but him alone in his room for so many years caused him to deteriorate as he did and eventually died. I think he regretted his choice in not having a real life with real people but it was to late to do anything about it.

Henry Darger was not crazy. He was created out of the society he lived in and his certain beliefs and circumstances all factored into what his life became. He did not do it for fame like a performance piece because no one really knows him, and he will eventually be forgotten like everyone else. It is sad that the only life he lived was in his mind. His art will be remembered for its quantity and detail, but it will never outweigh what his life was as a lonely balding man.

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