I have been privileged to be a volunteer for the Outside In organization since January 2012. Outside In is an agency run from Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, having the stated aim of “providing a platform for artists who find it difficult to access the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance or because their work does not conform to what is normally considered as ‘art’.” (Outside In London catalogue, 2012) Many of the Outside In artists suffer from severe mental or physical disabilities, or are struggling to overcome trauma and addiction. Many of them are self-taught artists.
The art produced by these artists has, by and large, an honesty and immediacy not often seen in the mainstream art world. Emotions are portrayed in a raw and intense way. The heart and soul of the artist is put there visibly on the canvas or sculpture. Coming as I do from an art educated background (BFA from Temple University, MFA from West Dean College / University of Sussex), it is a powerful reminder of the reasons that I make art. I am constantly surprised and inspired by the artists that I meet in the Outside In Program and by the art that they produce.
Eleanor Buffam, MFA 2012