Fashion Inspiration: Henry Darger

America knew Henry Darger late. So it goes for most prodigious artists. Born in 1892, Darger worked as custodian at a children's school for most of his life. His mother died early and his sister was put up for adoption. Darger actually never met his sister and spent his time growing up in various institutions, including a children's mental asylum.—-

Needless to say, Darger may have had some skeletons in his closet. From 19 to 81 years old, he created 15,000 pages of illustrations of volumes upon volumes about the war between the Vivian Girls and the Glandelinains, an army of child enslaving men. He even wrote battle songs to accompany his illustrations. He used mostly old telephone books and newspaper clippings for his canvas with a focus on children that were being attacked and enslaved. His crooked depictions of children is thought to be derived from his own sense of a lost and deprived childhood. Perhaps the strangest thing is that he never showed his artwork to anyone. Instead, he kept it all hidden in his small downtown Chicago apartment. His mountains of artwork weren't discovered until after his death when his apartment was unlocked to be vacated. Today I bring Henry Darger and his work as inspiration. The colors and stories say so much and have so much movement. It would be interesting to somehow see them represented in a fashion collection.

For a further glimpse into Darger's work, check out the book Darger: The Henry Darger Collection at the American Folk Art Museum.

or the documentary In The Realms of the Unreal by Jessica Yu.

Visit for more information on Henry Darger and other folk artists"?

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