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Author Topic: The Electric Pencil - book  (Read 337 times)

Annie.

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on: January 03, 2020, 08:02:06 PM
I read the story of a man called James Edward Deeds, who draw fascinating drawings with limited supply (pencils, few colored pen, and for paper discarded pages of a ledger).  His collection of drawings were done while institutionalized in the State Hospital No. 3 in Missouri USA between 1936 and 1973.   The collection was find by a collector in 2006 on E-Bay, and published them in 2016.

The short introduction describes the little that is know about Deebs, speculates that he may have been autistic, and the state of hospital for the mentally ill in the early 1900's.

The eyes in his drawing are mesmerizing to me, larger than normal and with very small pupilla.   The drawings are painstakingly done with details and care.

It is a bit of a mystery what could have gone thru his mind when drawing...

I borrow the book from our public library, but you can get an idea at:
http://www.electricpencildrawings.com/
Cheers, Annie
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.    ? Plato


Bill76434

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Reply #1 on: January 03, 2020, 09:39:53 PM
Eerie and fascinating.


Annie.

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Reply #2 on: January 03, 2020, 11:49:20 PM
Eerie... that is the word!
Cheers, Annie
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.    ? Plato


Cath

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Reply #3 on: January 04, 2020, 09:07:02 AM
Actually a sad story of the artist, Annie.  The eyes are ‘eerie‘ because they are drawn flat, no sparkle in them, which is what he may have seen in fellow patients. A result of the treatment of those times, maybe?
Cathy-Rose.


Annie.

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Reply #4 on: January 06, 2020, 10:39:36 AM
Good observation Cathy, and I agree with you. 

In the book the limited information provided by the distant family members who remembered him suggests he may have been autistic.  Until not so long ago, autism was considered a form of deep psychosis, called infantile schizophrenia, and people were often place in institution for life. 

From what we know now, I believe those eyes could well be what Deeds really saw when we looked at people.  After all when you see all the attention to details given in his building (drawing every bricks perfectly) and his steam boats, I see no reason to think that his portraits were not as accurate.

What is also sad is that he was treated as a child, given a few pieces of discarded paper and crayons (limited palette fro what is observed)... what would he had done with a few tubes of paint and canvases?

What if van Gogh's brother Theo had only given him few children crayons instead of real supplies?
Cheers, Annie
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.    ? Plato


nolan

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Reply #5 on: January 07, 2020, 06:52:34 PM
interesting. I have no doubt in those days many people ended up institutioalised when they didn't belong there :-\


 

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