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  • James Castle Barn
    Soot drawing (barn)
  • Page detail (BON-TON book)
  • Three soot drawings






James Castle

James Castle

James Castle (1899–1977) was a self-taught artist who found inspiration in the detritus of everyday life, especially in the materials he collected from his parents’ homebased post office and general store in rural Idaho. Working primarily with soot, spit, and homemade tools, Castle was able to create a complex style that was wholly his own. Castle was born deaf and had only limited means of communication. However, thanks to the support of his family, he had dedicated space, supplies, and plenty of time—he was allowed to skip most farm chores—to make art. Though he did not gain artistic recognition until the 1950s, Castle’s work is now exhibited in museums and galleries across the world.