The IOEMA Collection of outsider art belongs to us, Sue and John Yimin. The collection began in 1999 when we started the website and invited artists to submit their work for exhibition on the site. Not all submissions were accepted; those that were agreed to send an original for us to keep. After a couple years, the site changed to and then to Almost from the beginning, Google served up the sites first for outsider art searches, guaranteeing artists the exposure they needed to show their work. Over the years, art from all over the world arrived here and the collection now holds well over 300 works of art. Art came packed in boxes, wrapped in cardboard, rolled in tubes, stretched, framed, raw canvas, paper bound in books, painted wood and sculptures. All manner, size and shape are included in the collection...from pencil drawings on post-it note paper to nine foot wide paint on canvas. Some artists sent one piece and never were heard from again while others sent multiple works and some became good friends. In 2019, we stopped accepting submissions. In 2023, we had our first ever real life exhibition and sale, six weeks of summer at Tissue Farm in Confluence, PA.


I remember in 1999 thinking of the idea of starting a website to exhibit art. I couldn't imagine anyone paying me to show their work and didn't know how to get the money back then anyway. Besides, artists don't have cash to waste but they do have art and that's what I really wanted. I used Microsoft Frontpage to start everything rolling in late 1998/early 1999 and focused on outsider art. Shortly after I made the site and added what were called keywords, Google started serving the site number 1 or 2 result for outsider art search! How the hell that happened I still don't know decades later. Not only that but the first couple artists I put on the site that I met in the streets of Pittsburgh, their page on my site came up #1 in Google search for their name, even when very common. I made a submission form and said that if an artist was interested, they could show me their work through email or internet and I would exhibit it on my site if I liked it or thought visitors to the site would like the art. I also asked for an original from every artist accepted to the site but no money. The first couple months nothing happened. And then, to my shock, I got a submission and then quickly another. Over the next 22 years, the site averaged 2 to 3 hundred submissions per year and I exhibited about 10% of those, some years more or less. I only emailed back on ones that I wanted to show so it wasn't all that much work and it was a simple process for me cause I either liked the work or not. Sometimes, I would let the submission sit for a few days to make sure I knew what I thought. Every single exhibited artist sent me at least one original work of art.

Back then, the site was and soon changed to and now steady on The latest name is a recognition that the art is now a collection and doesn't really accept submissions any longer. In 1999, artists couldn't get their images seen easily online and getting in to what few online galleries there were, especially for outsiders, was impossible. My site offered a way to be seen because of google and offered them the opportunity to get their work and art to a wider, hopefully buying, audience. Starting in the last five years or so, even a hermit in a cave scratching wood on rocks becomes an internet start so the appeal of my original idea diminished and I'm glad for that. Artists have dozens of ways to show their work and are better for it. And I have no room for more art.

I kept much of the emails from artists I accepted and after a while started to keep some of the packaging they used, like labels or cardboard fronts to the boxes or tubes used and I'm glad I did. Some of the artists submitted, answered an acceptance email, sent the work and I never heard another peep. Some sent 2 works in one package or maybe another work a year or two later out of the blue with a note "Merry Christmas" or "Just for you, Happy Spring." Quite few artists sent multiple artworks here and established a mini collection within the collection of their work. Welsh, Hoffe, Oxier, Judges, Murison, Sales, Plastorm, Keck, Thompson, Kox, Heslet, Brady, Fujino, Garance, Bennett, Attali, Pyper, Vuittonet, Smithline, Waugh, Dushan, Shaffer, Steiner and Swinton (and I missed some) sent multiple works here over the years.

The smallest work came from Mitsi Brown barely 1.5 inch square and the largest painting a 9 foot wide Hoffee/Welsh collaboration. The largest work is an Attali drawing bound in to a book that when put together flows 36 feet. Many of the works arrived unstretched canvas rolled in a tube. Some paintings on standard store bought stretched canvas, some on raw canvas stretched by the artist, paint on wood panels or scrap wood or even cabinet fronts and shelving arrived through all the standard delivery services. During different stretches of time, the overseas works outnumbered USA works with art getting here from Australia, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Israel, Spain, Poland, Japan, Netherlands, China, Canada, Czech Republic, Maldives, Russia, Denmark, Germany, Serbia and Peru. A painting from Poland took the longest, 90 days! Works on paper, sculpture, eggwashed linen, heavy oil/acrylic/spray, pencil, pen, woodblock print, collage, papercut...almost every visual medium except video made its way in to the collection.