Elizabeth Driscoll Smith
- Doctoral Candidate
- University of California, Santa Barbara
The transportation industry altered the ways artists considered “folk” or “self-taught” engaged with the American public during the twentieth century. Histories of folk and self-taught art have historically emphasized their subjects as bound to a singular location and firmly rooted in regional traditions, yet many utilized expanding roadways and waterways to negotiate their locational identity. This dissertation project examines four self-taught artists who built combination home and studio sites at the nexus of shifting regional constructs and major socio-political changes. At mid-century, the artists of this study responded to emerging forms of mobility and their effects, simultaneously navigating the pressures of gentrification, highway and waterway expansion projects, a burgeoning folk art tourism industry, and liberation movements across the United States.