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The Man Who Drew Everything


A charming book arrived at the chez scrubbles doorstep a couple of weeks ago — Blackstock’s Collections: The Drawings of an Autistic Savant published by Princeton Architectural Press. The book collects the artwork of one Gregory L. Blackstock, a sixty year old Seattleite who began making his obsessively detailed drawings of multiple items two decades ago. From what I could gather, the autistic Blackstock intently studies library books, then goes home and creates intricate drawings entirely from memory of the animals, buildings, vehicles or household objects he saw. Each drawing focuses on one subject (e.g. dozens of different saws, WWII U.S. bombers, or swallowtail butterflies), serving as visual evidence that several objects seen collectively have a strange power that one object by itself lacks. Some of his layouts are arranged in a lovely gridlike fashion or have an innate orderliness, drawn with a crude, thick hand (actually, his linework and blocky lettering most closely resembles the work of political cartoonist Mark Alan Stamaty). Blackstock’s Collections makes me gratified that the artist has gained recognition in the outsider art world and isn’t toiling in obscurity.

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