African-American Folk Artist, ca.1856-1949
was a self-taught artist born an Alabama slave. Unable to read or write, he first began drawing in 1939 at the age of eighty-three. He worked full-time for the next four years to produce over eighteen hundred drawings. He used a straight edge to create geometric silhouettes of human and animal figures which he then filled in with crayon and tempera. He is known for his intriguing use of pattern versus flat color and a remarkably intuitive sense of space. He started hanging his works on a nearby fence to entertain the locals. One of his first fans was Charles Shannon, a painter who introduced Traylor to the New South regionalist artists and organized two shows of his work before his death. Since then, Traylor has become one of the most highly sought-after outsider artists.