In addition to being a prolific writer, musician and songwriter Woody Guthrie was a talented visual artist. He began working as a sign painter in Pampa, Texas, and later became a cartoonist for newspapers in Los Angeles and New York. He used a variety of mediums, including oil, charcoal, pastels, pen and ink, watercolor, clay, ceramics, and even his children’s crayons, to produce everything from traditional landscapes and portraits to experimental multimedia pieces. Guthrie portrayed his surroundings and the people who impressed him, whether well-known historical figures or neighborhood faces. Like his music, his artwork provides a glimpse into his daily life, as well as his thoughts and feelings about his community. The following is inscribed on the back of this artwork, In El Rancho Grande (1936); “this adobe art painted of clay, open air and sky. Imagined in front of the Santa Fe Art Museum when an old lady told me “the world is made of Adobe“ and I added “so is man.“
Photographed in the Morgan Library in New York City as par of the Exhibit, People Are The Song.