What IS Headfooters?

Headfooters is an art gallery in Cleveland, Ohio featuring local, regional, national, and international outsider art.

The outsider art field is evolving, complex, even murky. Its very definition is the source of constant debate. Outsider art, at its broadest, is best defined by what it is not. It is not academic, not of the European art tradition and not sponsored by grants. It is not yet accepted by the mainstream.

We could try to tell you exactly what outsider art is, but we think the best way to do that is to invite you to visit Headfooters and come see it and define it for yourself. At Headfooters you'll find art that is the raw creative impulse of the child, the insane, the outcast, the dissident - not the product of training.

You'll find art that comes from the invention of new techniques and adaptations to available materials - not the mastery of traditional techniques and materials. You'll find artists who speak their own unique language without ever being obscure, difficult or overly conceptual -- artists who demand to be heard yet do not seek acceptance from the "art world." At Headfooters we believe you'll find art that is, more than anything, inevitable.

Outsider art is visionary. It is naive. It is self-taught. It is art brut. Outsider art is pure art. But don't take it from us. Visit us at Headfooters and see for yourself.

Website design and production by Double Agent Design.

What ARE Headfooters?

A general search of the Internet using Google produced only one hit: "Tips for scuba diving off the coast of Croatia: Headfooters are a type of photophil algae. This community comprises numerous sea species: shells, snails, headfooters and fishes..." Interesting. But not very helpful.

For our purposes, a headfooter is a drawing of a head with feet sticking out of it. Our gallery's logo is a headfooter drawn by our daughter, Emma, at three-years-old. Just about anyone who has ever drawn (with crayon, pencil, or mud and on paper, ground, or cave walls) has drawn a headfooter. If you are a parent of a child of the age of four, then you know exactly what a headfooter is -- check on your refrigerator door.

When we saw our daughter Emma starting to draw her own headfooters, we knew that we had found the name of our gallery.

The first time we saw the term headfooter was in an article about the Austrian artist Oswald Tschirtner (Raw Vision, Issue #2, pg. 32).

"At first, Oswald Tschirtner mainly drew "kopffussler" ("headfooters"), i.e. stick figures having only a head and legs or feet... without a body. These figures were not, of course, his own invention, as they can be found in other places and in other times." We came across the term again on page 90 of John Maizels' beautiful book, Raw Creation where, again, the term headfooters is applied to the spare, beautiful work of Oswald Tschirtner; "His principal subjects are elongated human forms, "Kopffusler" (head-footers) portrayed singly or in groups."

Oswald Tschirtner Untitled (Headfooters) 1973