The Electric Pencil - Drawings from Inside State Hospital No. 3

Princeton Architectural Press

$16.95 $29.95

The Electric Pencil - Drawings from Inside State Hospital No. 3 by James Edward Deeds Jr. / ISBN 9781616894542 / 272-page paperback, 7.5 x 9.5 inches, published by Princeton Architectural Press / overstock copies but like new.


The Electric Pencil is the first book to reveal the story of James Edward Deeds Jr., a remarkable artist who emerged from a difficult childhood only to spend most of his adult life in Missouri mental institutions.

"Combine elements of forgotten family secrets, an unknown artist, and a little bit of luck, and the tale of 'The Electric Pencil' reads like a page ripped from Faulkner's notebook."--Garden Gun

"This book reproduces all of his lovingly drafted, gorgeously colored drawings in the original order, giving you a sense of what it was like to flip through the original portfolio."--St. Louis Magazine

"An excellent entry point to art in an unconventional form. Those interested in the outsider art movement will want to put this at the top of their to-read list."--Library Journal

Deeds's subtle, meticulous, and wildly imaginative pencil and crayon drawings portray an unusual cast of characters: nineteenth-century dandies, Civil War soldiers, antique cars, fantastic boats and trains, country landscapes dotted with roaming animals, and fanciful architecture. None of these existed in the actual mid-twentieth-century landscape of Deeds's own life, but rather were representations of his inner world—an artist's poignant tribute to a faded past.

Deeds lovingly bound his artwork in a cardboard and leather portfolio, a present for his mother. After being accidentally discarded in 1970, the album was rescued from the trash by a young boy and, thirty-six years later, came into the hands of artist and collector Harris Diamant, who provides the book's foreword. The Electric Pencil features all 283 of Deeds's arresting drawings—now avidly collected—done on ledger sheets from State Hospital No. 3 in Nevada, Missouri, and reproduced in the sequence of the original album. The Electric Pencil introduces readers to an astonishing record of one man's unwavering artistic vision in the face of the most inhospitable conditions.

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