Inner Necessity by Léon Howahr

Inner Necessity by Léon Howahr

Slanted × Kickstarter

Author: Laura Nadvornik

Nine selected book projects from the first Slanted × Kickstarter Mentoring & Publishing Program are live and ready to be funded. We are happy to present you the individual projects in the upcoming days and weeks and hope you’ll support one, two, or all of them. ;)

“Art that had to be done:” in the publication Inner Necessity, Léon Howahr pays tribute to the artistic urges of those who have no choice other than to create. In this exploration of art brut and outsider art, Howahr compiles and highlights the works and life stories of (accidental) artists like Prophet Royal Robertson, Zdenek Košek, Josef Hofer, and many more, laying bare the utterly personal core of all artistic intent.

Léon Howahr is a graphic designer from Essen, Germany, with a passion in editorial design. Since finishing his studies at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Dortmund in 2015, he has been working as a graphic designer and art director both in freelance projects and as an employed designer.

We asked Léon a few questions about his project:

Your project was selected from nearly 100 submissions to be part of the Slanted × Kickstarter mentoring & publishing program. What did you learn, what helped you the most?
You always feel that you get the most support in the areas that are not your cup of tea. I believe that what few people with a more creative background fully consider are the numbers. At least that is unfortunately the case with me. A Kickstarter campaign does not only mean to produce nice pictures and a nice video, but also to be aware of shipping and packaging costs, taxes and duties. Here the support of the partners Slanted and Kickstarter was definitely the biggest for me. Of course you also talk to them about the content of the book, design, rewards. But that’s usually fun! Thanks Slanted and Kickstarter for the great opportunity and coaching!

How did this project come about?
The project was originally my bachelor thesis in the field of communication design, which I designed in 2014/2015 at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Dortmund. I had known Outsider Art for about 5 years at that time and since I love these and beautifully designed books, it was the perfect opportunity to combine the two topics for the project.

Is there a real Outsider Art/Art Brut scene? Or is it time to give them a stage? 
I would say yes and yes. Of course there is a certain “scene,” if you can call it that, in which certain galleries, institutions and collections from the field of Outsider Art and Art Brut play a role. And of course there are already numerous enthusiasts. But this “scene” is not hermetic and the boundaries are fluid. Here and there, there is a tendency or desire to be even more in the realm of contemporary art. This has also been reinforced in recent years by the participation of Outsider Artists in large contemporary collective exhibitions of important curators and museums. Nevertheless, my experience has always been that many people have simply never heard of Outsider Art—despite their interest in art, design, culture. This also led to the decision to dedicate a book entirely to this topic and, as you say, to give the artists a stage.

Why should our readers support your project? How do you hope to continue with it?
For me, Outsider Art was a great enriching addition to my understanding of art and I believe that everyone who sees the works for the first time feels a certain fascination for it. So I can only recommend the Slanted reader not to miss this great source of inspiration! But also people who already know Outsider Art will get their money’s worth—because well-designed books for an audience with design background are still rare in this field. I hope that the crowdfunding will be successful and that the book can be published in cooperation with Slanted Publishers in spring 2021.

Thanks a lot for the insides and we keep our fingers crossed that your project will be financed!

Artworks: courtesy christian berst art brut

Inner Necessity by Léon Howahr

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