More on the Electric Pencil

As I noted here, inside the space at 16 Jay that used to be home to Ethan Coen Fine Arts—which moved to 14 Jay—is a show of artwork by the Electric Pencil. “Around the year 1910, a patient at State Lunatic Asylum No 3 (subsequently State Hospital No. 3) in Nevada, Missouri, who referred to himself as The Electric Pencil, executed 283 drawings in ink, pencil, crayon and colored pencil,” says the sign in the window. “The drawings were done on both sides of 140 ledger pages, each bearing the name of the hospital. They were sewn into a handmade fabric and leather album. A selection of these drawings will be offered for sale at the Outsider Art Fair scheduled to be held in New York City in February 2011.”

There was a URL——for a website that doesn’t have much more than an email address. I heard back from one Harris Diamant, who confirmed that the show is temporary, in place until the space gets rented, and unmanned (meaning the glimpse below is as good as you’ll get). “This is an opportunity, our first, to see how the drawings lay out on the wall,” he wrote. “Basically a maquette for our booth at the Feb. 2011 Outsider Art Fair.” (He said he doesn’t own or occupy space in 16 Jay.) According to the bio on Diamant’s gallery’s website, he was an antiques dealer before becoming an artist himself. I figured there must be an interesting tale about how these drawings ended up in his possession, and it sounds like there is: “The story of how the drawings came to light will be published in a book that will accompany the showing of the collection,” he wrote. We’ll just have to wait till then….



  1. These are amazing. I can’t wait to hear about the story behind them!

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  3. These drawings are truly facinating and I’m sure the story behind them must be equally facinating as well.

    My best wishes to Mr. Diamant in his endeavours with these masterpieces of Folk Art.

    Check out his own sculpture at

  4. These are so very ,very cool Harris. What is the story and any for sale?

  5. The installation on Jay street is an intriguing glimpse into this collection! There is amazing sensitivity to the portraits of both the humans and the animals, for instance, that is very compelling. The wacky world of the Electric Pencil is quite an extraordinary exploration!

  6. Beauty and intrigue – what better combo could there be?