Waller, Texas. December 26, 2002. The outcome of a quest for
fame and wealth in Daniel Johnston's adult life continues to surprise a lot of people.
From the early 80's when the ragged figure appeared on the streets
(literally) of Austin, Texas handing out home made (or home-less made)
cassette tapes of his songs. In and out of mental institutions and
switching record labels constantly, he has managed to produce
28 + albums, and has a
following of notable fans. So he might have some claim to the
"fame" portion of his aspirations.
Daniel Johnston is a 41 year
old "still living at home with the parents" statistic who has
painfully marched to the beat of that 'different drummer'. Plagued with mental illness and
health issues, he has over the years cranked out around twenty albums,
hundreds of pieces of art, featured in articles Rolling Stones, SPIN,
and Entertainment weekly (just to name a few), appeared on national
television and cable (MTV), and always receiving quiet acclaim from critics.
David Bowie's Royal Festival Hall
Bowie singled out Daniel Johnston and mused
admiration, "he makes music for himself,
which is 'what it is all about'".
When it comes to art, Daniel's sketches are
circulated widely, and are generally available from web
the oldest source of on-line Daniel Johnston art,
or even from Daniel's official site
A simple colorless drawing on typing paper can easily draw $50, and the
more creative and intriguing exchange for upwards of a hundred
University of Texas is sponsoring submissions of Daniel's art work
to be included in college level art education text books.
Holle Humphries of
U.T. solicited approval from
Daniel's manager (and father) Bill Johnston to submit samples of
Daniel's art for textbook use. A release was signed today, and includes the drawing shown here as a sample to
stimulate thinking about contemporary art and artists.
Ms Humphries writes "What is echoed in the
description I have written about this [submission] about Mr Johnston and
his work is that it is unique from all the other [submissions] produced
by students: this uniquely profiles an interdisciplinary work of a
contemporary artist who has achieved attention in his own right for his
own individual talent, beyond the commercial mainstream controlled by
corporate franchises. This very much reflects Postmodern trends, which
celebrate the work of outsider artists who contribute to a dynamic
visual culture enjoyed and admired by all of us."
This doesn't likely mean
your descendants will be memorizing his birth date. It serves at
best to fuel Daniel's faltering ego. And unless the arrival
of self-worth suddenly unravels the secret of his genius in art and
song, we applaud the notoriety.
A place in history? Maybe I'm being arrow
Ms Humphries has something to say about
that! "In this respect, it is believed that Mr Daniel Johnston's artwork
can be considered significant within the context of the current art
world, and therefore may one day be in art history."
Okay. So make note: his birthday is
January 21, 1961 :-).