“Cartoon-tainted abstract surrealism” is how one of the masters of the so-called Lowbrow art movement, Robert Williams, once described his vein of artmaking.
Sherri Cullison, the editor-in-chief of Stretching Canvas, a new Indianapolis-based magazine dedicated to the stuff, sums it even more succinctly: “I love it.”
Stretching Canvas is a spin-off of another magazine Cullison and her husband, Chris Pfouts, have been producing for years, International Tattoo Art. “Tattoo artists want to be recognized for their other stuff,” Cullison says. “It was a natural progression.”
Stretching Canvas covers the interlocked world of underground visual art, a universe with its roots in the California pop culture of hot rods, bikers, pin-ups, sci-fi and comix. Cullison describes this work as “completely American. It’s obviously branched out to other countries now, but, to me, it sits on the same level as jazz.”
The work has an enthusiastic following, but, for the most part so far, lives outside the channels of museums. Cullison, who has published a book on the genre’s female artists, Vicious, Delicious and Ambitious: 20th Century Women Artists, says, “We’re trying to define what the hell this artform is, what it means and what it encompasses. There are thousands and thousands of artists out there, and we can find the ones who haven’t been tapped into yet.”
You can tap into Stretching Canvas at newsstands everywhere, or via the Web at www.internationaltattooart.com.