The Ioema Collection holds over 300 original artist drawings, sculptures, paintings, and odd combinations. Each of the works was submitted by the artist through innercityartist.com or later outsiderart.info. If I liked their work or thought my visitors would, I agreed to exhibit their art on the website in exchange for an original. That’s it. No money, no promises but exposure and no other rules. From 1999 through early 2019, art from around the world showed up on my front porch and entered the collection. Almost all of the artists had a personal story to tell through their work. A few, like Mikey Welsh, William Thomas Thompson, Michael Hoffee and others became good friends while some I spoke with on the phone, learning more than color and line. I met Thompson (who sat on my back porch for hours after returning from the American Visionary Art Museum), Norbert Kox and George Heslet jr. Mostly though, artists and I just traded emails. Our artists use art to express unburst joy, deep unending sorrow, years of abuse and the ecstasy of survival. Some survived because of art. Most are self taught, outsiders. Some have died (Welsh, Kox, Teague, Cholla, Heslet). Others quit making art. Most are still at it, creating new works.
Confluence, Pennsylvania, United States