Fugitive Art is art that does not belong to any specific tradition. Art that cannot be placed in a convenient category such as Figurative, Modern, or Expressionistic. It is somewhere between the highly polished art of the academy and the primitive passion of folk art. It is not untrained but it is mostly self taught, and it sometimes follows the accepted principles of the Renaissance, such as perspective and color harmony, but not always, and it grants itself the freedom to break those time-honored rules. It can be playful, whimsical, mystical, and visionary. It is not concerned with being representational but prefers to remain rooted in the imagination.
For the Fugitive Artist, imagination is everything. The Fugitive Artist assigns himself the role of iconoclast. He embraces the life of the fugitive, i.e., the outsider, but he is not a passive observer of life; he is not a man on the outside looking in. He is an active participant in life, he interacts with the world through his imagination by taking in impressions and processing them with reflection and analysis, by weighing and judging. He is in flight from the ordinary way of seeing the world. He has no fealty to any place, country or culture, but draws his strength and inspiration from whatever strikes him in the external reality. But more powerful than reality is the vision of his spirit and imagination combined. Mostly he turns within, and he consciously and deliberately turns away from creating art that is a mere replication of the objective world. Whether it’s a portrait or a landscape, he is not interested in making a true-to-life depiction. He is more concerned with seeing with his mind’s eye and making an image that strives to show what he sees in his imagination, knowing and accepting beforehand that this can never be fully realized since the power of the imagination is always greater than the artist’s skill in depicting it. He can live anywhere because his true home lies within himself. He is committed only to the integrity of his own mind, the truth of his own soul, and he nourishes both with the truth that he finds everywhere. He is his own man, free and independent in mind and actions. He owes much to artists such as Matisse, Picasso, Chagall and Dali for showing what can be done when the rules are cast aside and the artist’s imagination is liberated from tradition.
He is also fleeing the conventional role of the artist as someone who produces work for exhibition and sale, for galleries, critics, and curators. He is neither owned and ordered by a patron nor a slave to the media. By opting not to allow himself to be forced to produce work that sells, he is able to focus on the truth and integrity of his own vision. His inclination is towards connecting with kindred spirits, not on commerce and exchange. He will remain loyal to his vision come what may, and in that sense he is also a fugitive from the conventions of society. He embraces life on the margins of that society, and he is not afraid to dwell there indefinitely if need be. By resisting the lure of money, he can keep the best part of himself in reserve and protect it from every form of corruption. He can live like a pauper but feel like a prince.The English artist William Blake may be his greatest inspiration, for Blake was one of the foremost examples of the Fugitive Artist. Free and independent, Blake sold little of his work but what he did sell went to buyers with a sensibility close to his own and with a keen appreciation for his vision.