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James Castle Lecture Tuesday



This October, the Idaho Historical Museum's Brown Bag Lecture will focus on a local legend, artist James Castle.

Born deaf and presumed mute, Castle managed to overcome his disability with his art, using only what materials were at hand. Taking inspiration from everything in sight, Castle used stove soot and his own saliva for ink and fashioned his own writing utensils using sharpened sticks. Every facet of his work was created from the ground up, and with these unique tools he created incredible, original works of art. Castle's pieces received minimal recognition in his lifetime, but in recent years, his work has seen international renown. Last year his work received greater exposure, as a film produced by The Foundation for Self-Taught American Artists gave insight into Castle's work and life. Titled James Castle: Portrait of an Artist, the film brings Castle to life by presenting the thoughts of museum curators, art historians, other artists and Castle's own family. Though he never learned to sign, read or write, Castle nevertheless knew how to express himself, and his art continues to instill a sense of wonder today.

Tom Trusky, director of the Hemingway Western Studies Center at Boise State University and author of Castle's definitive biography, James Castle: His Life & Art, will give the lecture.

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 12 p.m.-1 p.m., $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 ages 6-12 and students with ID, FREE to kids under 6, Idaho Historical Museum, 610 Julia Davis Dr., 208-334-2120,


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