For nearly three years Vance Gellert has been traveling through Minnesota and North Dakota in search of self-taught artists who are compelled to do their craft. His photographs of the artists and the landscapes in which they live are accompanied by a piece of the artists’ work.
According to Gellert, "I’m searching out and making portraits of outsider artists of the region. I define these as people who are not formally trained but driven to create delightful and intensely personal art. I find this group to be quite fascinating and better, very photogenic. Finding them is itself an interesting process. The project began October 1, 2004, and it’s still defining itself. The first thing I discovered was that the landscape photos I took in the environments where these artists live paired well with the portraits and are shown together."
Vance Gellert took a BA in physiology and a PhD in pharmacology, both at the University of Minnesota, before realizing that he really wanted to be a photographer. He returned to school at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and finished an MFA in photography in 1984. In 1989 he became co-founder and director of the Minnesota Center for Photography, a position he held until 2003. He resigned to become a full-time photographer.