My mom and I just watched In the Realms of the Unreal, a fascinating documentary on the life and work of self-taught writer and artist, Henry Darger. Its been on my netflix queue for years, but I've been waiting to watch it with my mom since we share a love for his work. The film was fantastic and I definitely recommend it to anyone with an interest in the eccentricities and oddities of the artist and the creative process.
My first encounter with Henry Darger was back in 2006 when I visited the American Folk Art Museum in NYC. I was amused by his colorful paintings of innocent-looking, war-waging, penis-sporting young girls. And I was intrigued to find that these paintings are accompanying illustrations to a 15,000+ page novel that he himself wrote, entitled In the Realms of the Unreal.
The epic novel and paintings were discovered just before Darger's death in 1973, at the age of 81. He lived a quiet unassuming life as a poor hospital janitor, keeping to himself at all times, almost as if he were in another world. And in another world he was, as lord and creator of another realm.