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[BKARTS] "New" James Castle Book

CENTER NEWS / September 20, 2008
Release online: http://news.boisestate.edu


The second edition of “James Castle: His Life and Art,” written by Boise State University professor Tom Trusky and first published in 2004, has been released by the Idaho Center for the Book. 

“James Castle: His Life and Art” contains rare documents and photographs, exclusive interviews with Castle’s family, childhood friends and contemporary art and medical experts. The new edition features two new chapters as well as 200 black-and-white and color images and maps. The book has been revised and updated, including the book notes and bibliography. 

The book has been called “the definitive critical biography of Castle,” the native Idaho artist who died in Boise in 1977. Labeled for his entire life as deaf, mute, illiterate and mentally challenged, Castle is now thought to have been autistic. Born in 1899 in Garden Valley, he was the fifth of seven children. 

He never learned to speak, had a limited ability to read and write and he seemingly refused to be taught to sign. His primary form of communication was the thousands of drawings and illustrations he produced during his lifetime. Houses, domestic scenes, family members and friends were endlessly rendered in what some have termed a primitive “folk art” style from crude tools and supplies — ink made from soot and saliva, pens fashioned from twigs or sticks and canvases scavenged from scrap paper, cardboard, books and the many catalogs that flowed through his parents’ general store and post office. Even when family, friends, curators and artists purchased paints and brushes for him, late in his career, he preferred to make his own tools. 

Castle devoted himself to making art for more than 60 years. Although briefly “discovered” in the 1960s, he was largely unrecognized during his lifetime. Castle left behind more than 20,000 artworks. 

“James Castle: His Life and Art” sold out of its first edition. It is published by the Idaho Center for the Book, housed at Boise State, and is available at the Boise State Bookstore and Amazon.com. 


Media Contact: Julie Hahn, University Communications, (208) 426-5540, juliehahn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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This page last changed: September 20, 2008