In the News
Melvin Way (1954-2024)
We are saddened to share the news that visionary artist Melvin Way passed away early yesterday morning, February 4th. Beloved by countless art aficionados, his work occupies the uncharted border between art and science. Born in South Carolina, Way came to New York City in the 1970s to attend a technical school. He played bass in local bands and recorded a solo album with Encounter Records, which folded before the album could be released. Soon after, Way was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and following a string of unsuccessful relationships, became homeless.
By 1989 Way was residing in the shelter run by Hospital Audiences International, a nonprofit organization offering art workshops to people with disabilities. There, artist Andrew Castrucci, a volunteer workshop leader at the time, encouraged Way to make art and served as his advocate during subsequent years. Way soon began to produce small, exquisite ballpoint-pen and ink drawings on found paper—rich hybrids of scrawled text, mathematical equations, astronomical shorthand, chemical formulae, and alchemical punning—drawing viewers into exquisite mysteries that may never be solved.
Melvin’s art was always featured at the #OutsiderArtFair, in early years by Margaret Bodell and more recently with Andrew Edlin. Melvin also attended more than a few OAFs in person. Pictured here with David Byrne and Lonnie Holley.
(This post was reproduced from @outsiderartfair on Instagram.)