Detour Art

Creative discoveries along the back roads.

My website detour art.com is dedicated to the sheer joy of outsider, folk, visionary, self-taught, vernacular art and environment discoveries found all along the back roads (and side streets) around the world. Here are some of the highlights from the travels.

Bright shiny objects in the Route 66 desert – Elmer Long’s Bottle Ranch

Bright shiny objects in the Route 66 desert – Elmer Long’s Bottle Ranch

Even though Elmer’s teeming forest of bottle trees stands alongside one of those desolate stretches of old Route 66 between Barstow and San Bernadino, he says it doesn’t have much to do with the famous roadway.

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Strange “cures” on display at the Glore Psychiatric Museum

Strange “cures” on display at the Glore Psychiatric Museum

In 1967, when George Glore first devised having a museum dedicated to the various treatments for the mentally ill, this was part of St. Joseph State Hospital (aka the State Lunatic Aslyum #2.)

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The Best Art Car Parade Ever courtesy of the Orange Show

The Best Art Car Parade Ever courtesy of the Orange Show

From vehicles like the beautiful Belinda, to the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir and the Orange Barrel Mobile, the imagination and resourcefulness of Art Car builders is breathtakingly fun and funny.

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Melrose Plantation — home to outsider artist Clementine Hunter

Melrose Plantation — home to outsider artist Clementine Hunter

Along the Cane River, south of Natchitoches, LA, sits the Melrose Plantation, home of folk art legend, Clementine Hunter. But it’s history is extends far beyond the boundaries of art.

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The remarkable subterranean gardens of Baldasare Forestiere

The remarkable subterranean gardens of Baldasare Forestiere

The genius of this place is in its adaptation to the terrain. The story began back in 1905, when Forestiere Baldasare, a Sicilian immigrant, had come westward in the early 1900s with dreams of farming success.

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In Iowa, the 8th Wonder of the World — Grotto of the Redemption

In Iowa, the 8th Wonder of the World — Grotto of the Redemption

Talk about the power of crystals! Rising out of the small town of West Bend, a part of Iowa where the landscape is seldom disturbed by anything larger than a grain silo, lies the Grotto of the Redemption.

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The Door is the Way — “Missionary” Mary Proctor

The Door is the Way — “Missionary” Mary Proctor

In the mid-90s she had been running a junk and odds and ends store in rural north Florida when she suddenly turned to making art. She was suffering some severe health problems, and became even more depressed after she lost her grandmother, aunt, and uncle in a tragic house fire.

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The Must-See Museum – AVAM (American Visionary Art Museum)

The Must-See Museum – AVAM (American Visionary Art Museum)

When you see one of Vollis Simpson’s whirligigs adorning the front lawn of a museum, you know it’s no ordinary place. This is indeed the mecca for those who appreciate work by self-taught, outsider or visionary artists.

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Tin sheet tombstones in a tiny New Mexico cemetery

Tin sheet tombstones in a tiny New Mexico cemetery

Over the years, Horace embellished the graves of family members and other folks from this rural community, using metal and tin, much of it painstakingly punched out with a nail.

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Desert View Tower and Boulder Park Caves

Desert View Tower and Boulder Park Caves

In 1920, when Bert Vaughn started work on his Desert View Tower, people motoring across the mountains that jut up out here near the Mexican border inevitably needed a place to stop and cool down.

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