This is Art Moura’s front yard in Sebastopol. Susan Alexander took me to meet him. Patrick Amiot originally brought Moura and Alexander together.
This is Art Moura.
This is his pet pig Piggy Treasure. Piggy Treasure is a kunekune pig. Can you discern the wattles hanging from the lower jaw? A good word – wattles. Kunekune means “fat and round” in the Maori language. Kunekune pigs are known as placid, friendly, and happy with human company. They are said to be the only grazing pig. They can subsist with grass alone, no supplementary feeding. Don’t tell Piggy Treasure that. No way!
These are the cats. Devy is the lighter one. Shiva is the darker one.
Okay. Breathe deeply. I need words for what I see here. Alexander gave me a reading list.
The words that I have found are: art brut, art singulier, folk art, intuitive art, marginal art, nerve invention, outsider art, raw art, and visionary art. Alexander prefers art insolite. Unusual art. No judgment or hierarchy, just unusual.
I find phrases that help – “driven by a compulsive need to create,” “beyond the margins of the traditional art world,” “little or no contact with the mainstream art world or art institutions,” and “immune to the influences of culture, immune to being absorbed and assimilated.”
More of Art’s art. The front yard has many heavy concrete pieces that he made while married, before this house.
Parked in the driveway is Art’s car. It is an art car. Patrick Amiot came over one night, perhaps on a new year’s eve, and the two made an art car. This is not your grandmother’s art car. It is serious and evokes serious vibes.
Are we getting the idea here? When I say not your grandmother’s art car, I mean it. And I love this car.
Through the gate at the end of the driveway is the back yard. I mentioned elsewhere the Very High funky factor in Sebastopol. Thus – the backyard, filled with Moura’s art. As Rebecca Martinson famously wrote: “Tie yourself down to whatever chair you’re sitting in because this is going to be a rough $%#** ride.” (Imagine me not printing an expletive! What has happened to me?). If you know any protection, warding and/ or shielding spells, now would be the time to conjure.
There is an out building in the yard. Moura sometimes sleeps here. Piggy Treasure bangs on the door of the building early in the morning when Moura sleeps here. It is filled with his art.
As Charlotte and her friends would say, “Damn Daniel!”
From here, up to the back porch. That is where the cats greeted me. You saw them above. Also on the porch:
And finally, if you’re ready, we will go inside.
As you can see – there is a lot of art inside.
Moura grew up with a Portuguese dairyman father in the Salinas Valley, seeped in the culture of the Azores. He graduated from Gonsalez High School in 1971, and embraced some of the more extreme facets of the counterculture and Movement politics. He still ponders those choices and their consequences.
He then learned a trade and went to work as an electronics technician, mostly working for a company in Hayward. He lived-in the East Bay and walked the beach in Alameda. He found trash and from that trash began to make his art.
In 2000 he moved to Sebastopol, commuting down to Hayward three or four days a work for his wage-slave day gig as electronic technician. He divorced and moved into the house we have just seen ten-ish years ago.
Moura fits the bill – “driven by a compulsive need to create,” “beyond the margins of the traditional art world,” “little or no contact with the mainstream art world or art institutions,” and “immune to the influences of culture, immune to being absorbed and assimilated.”
That said, he has a website and has had a few shows. Alexander buys and shows his work. He is now showing at a gallery in Los Angeles that features outsider art.
It is the Good Luck Gallery.
Moura has been my try-the-deep-end introduction to art brut, art singulier, folk art, intuitive art, marginal art, nerve invention, outsider art, raw art, and visionary art, and Alexander’s favored term art insolite. Moura is a deeply thoughtful and intellectual man. He is kind and has a strong sense of humor. He has made a lot – A LOT – of art. While I can’t really relate to the fetish dolls, wow, most of his work just rocks me. There is a vibe here that you don’t run into every day.
I have more reading to do on this facet of the art world. I am fascinated, and glad that Alexander took me here.
I showed the photos to my friend. He had just gotten a photo in the mail from Gabby.
“Dude in the middle – I knew him like a brother, up in Washington. There were days when you knew to stand aside when you saw him coming. When he started drinking – well, those were the stand aside days. Dude on the left was named Blinky.”
Well enough, but what about Art Moura and his pig and cats and art?