Bill Traylor was born a slave in 1854. He lived on George Hartwell Traylor's plantation in Benton, Alabama long after he was freed, eventually migrating to Montgomery in the mid-1930s. It was there that Traylor began to draw, always from memory — the animals, people and events he recalled in his life. With a sure hand and a minimalistic style, Traylor developed a self-taught visual vocabulary that has been applauded, written about and collected by major museums. Though his work was shown a few times in the 1940s, it was largely forgotten about and unknown until the early 1980s. Since then, his work has skyrocketed in appreciation and value, with even small works on cardboard selling for over $100,000. Traylor died in 1949. Accidental Mysteries is an online curiosity shop of extraordinary things, mined from the depths of the online world and brought to you each week by John Foster, a writer, designer and longtime collector of self-taught art and vernacular photography. “I enjoy the search for incredible, obscure objects that challenge, delight and amuse my eye. More so, I enjoy sharing these discoveries with the diverse and informed readers of Design Observer.”
Editor's Note: All images are copyright of their original owners.