Woody Guthrie: Art Works by Woodie Guthrie
A story: when I was in 4th grade, there was this school fair, and all the classes had to get up on a stage and sing two songs. I can still remember the fifth graders dancing around with pillow cases with smiley faces over their heads singing “Short People” by Randy Newman. It haunts my nightmares. I also have a strange aversion to Lee Greenwood. Fun times. There was one good thing that came out of that day: the other song we had to sing was “This Land is Your Land,” and so I was introduced to the work of Woody Guthrie.
Though most people know Guthrie as a musician, he was also a prolific and gifted artist. In 2005, Nora Guthrie, director of the Woody Guthrie Archives and Woody’s daughter, and graphic artist Steven Brower released Woody Guthrie: Art Works. Art Works is an extensive collection of Guthrie’s paintings, pencil sketches, and pen and ink drawings taken from the Woody Guthrie Archives, and punctuated with occasional essay by Brower (and bookended by a preface from Nora Guthrie and a forward from Billy Bragg, and an afterward by Jeff Tweedy from Wilco).
The pieces in Art Works serve as a documentary of both Guthrie’s life (sometimes literally-a number of the pieces are drawn over journal entries and letters) and times.
-Aimee Cabrera, Learning Commons Day Manager