Spiritual American Trash by Greg Bottoms
Portraits from the Margins of Art and Faith

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In Spiritual American Trash, Greg Bottoms goes beyond the examination of eight “outsider artists” and inhabits the spirit of their work and stories in engaging vignettes. From the janitor who created a holy throne room out of scraps in a garage, to the lonely wartime mother who filled her home with driftwood replicas of Bible scenes, Bottoms illustrates the peculiar grace in madness.

Using facts as scaffolding he constructs intimate narratives around each artist, painting their poor and difficult circumstances on the outskirts of American society and demonstrating struggle’s influence on their largely undiscovered art. Both mournful and celebratory, these profiles embrace these compulsive creators with empathy and visceral sensory details.

Each sentence reads with the cadence of a preacher who engages the art of the spirit and passion that often strays into obsession. Raised in the working-class South as a devout Christian with a deeply troubled brother, Bottoms understands how these eight outsiders “made art for a higher power and for themselves.”

About Greg Bottoms

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An essayist, memoirist, critic, and story writer, Greg Bottoms is the author of The Colorful Apocalypse and Fight Scenes. He teaches creative writing at the University of Vermont.
Published April 1, 2013 by Counterpoint. 208 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Spiritual American Trash

Essayist and critic Bottoms (The Colorful Apocalypse: Journeys in Outsider Art) profiles a series of self-taught outsider artists who made art not with the hopes of achieving social recognition or commercial gain, but as a means of making sense of their often difficult lives and of appealing to h...

Apr 15 2013 | Read Full Review of Spiritual American Trash: Por...

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