“The Baltimore Glassman” Paul Darmafall

“The Baltimore Glassman” Paul Darmafall

1925-2003
Baltimore, MD
Mixed media artist

“I never did like electric” is one of the first things Paul Darmafall told us when we encountered him at his working class home in South Baltimore. Paul was a Korean War veteran, who worked factory jobs and manual labor all his life. But something about glass really floated his boat. He’d pick up broken glass around the neighborhood, and much to his family’s surprise, make artwork from it. Then he’d hang the pieces up in trees and on fences around town, to the point where the work of “The Baltimore Glassman” became something of a phenomena. “Room and board, that’s all I wanted.” is another of Paul’s cryptic phrases, uttered even as we watched him move tiny pieces of broken glass around on a board. Pieces that often told of his favorite Americans like George Washington and Ben Franklin, or cultural figures like Einstein and Pavarotti.

The Glassman passed away shortly after our visit. The American Visionary Art Museum has a number of his most elaborate pieces.

Bibliography:

“Detour Art—Outsider, Folk Art, and Visionary Folk Art Environments Coast to Coast, Art and Photographs from the Collection of Kelly Ludwig” by Kelly Ludwig, Kansas City Star Books, 2007.

“Rare Visions & Roadside Revelations” (the book), by Randy Mason, Michael Murphy and Don Mayberger, Kansas City Star Publishing, 2002.

“20th Century American Folk, Self Taught, and Outsider Art” by Betty-Carol Sellen, Cynthia J. Johnson, Neal-Schuman Publishers, New York, 1993.

“Contemporary American Folk Art  – A Collector’s Guide”  Chuck and Jan Rosenak, Abbeville Press, 1996.

“Self Taught, Outsider, and Folk Art—A guide to American Artists, Locations and Resources” by Betty-Carol Sellen with Cynthia J. Johnson, McFarland & Company, 2000.

“American Self-Taught Art: An Illustrated Analysis of 20th Century Artists and Trends with 1,319 Capsule Biographies” by Florence Laffal and Julius Laffal, 2003.