When artist Tim West died, he left a legacy that another local artist intends to preserve. Northwest Arkansas artist Diana Michelle Hausam discovered West and his art about six years ago, when she was driving county backroads in south Washington County.
Hausam, a photographer, was immediately drawn to a fence made from old bicycles. West created the fence. Eventually Hausam befriended West and began documenting the life of the hermit artist who died earlier this year.
On June 28, Hausam will host an open house, from 5 p.m. to midnight, at Teatro Scarpino in Fayetteville, to show a collection of West’s art, her own photographs of West and art by other local artists who were inspired by West’s work. Part of the documentary film she produced about West, “Westland,” will be shown.
Hausam discovered West in August 2006. After seeing the bicycle fence, she left a note on a nearby mailbox asking for permission to photograph the fence. West replied in a letter asking her to return and honk three times so he would know to come out of the woods. She followed West’s instructions and soon after that initial meeting West quickly became Hausam’s muse. Before his death, the two artists had four art shows together and worked on the documentary film for three years.
After getting to know West, Hausam said she learned that he had a master’s degree in art and that his work is held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.
The lean and rather wild-looking man who emerged from the woods after Hausam honked her horn had dropped out of society 40 years ago. He had found refuge in the woods near Winslow, where locals knew him as the eccentric who came regularly to a local convenience story for biscuits and gravy.
Hausam said West told her that he knew he would be famous after he died.
The show will hang at Teatro Scarpino throughout July.