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What Is Folk Art?

For more than 20 years, Eric Dowdle has created detailed and vibrant images of our vast world through his paintings. Many of his art pieces are later manufactured into high-quality wooden puzzles. Eric Dowdle's art prioritizes the creation and appreciation of art as a way to tell stories from a variety of places and cultures. From our custom wooden puzzles to our fine works of art, Dowdle’s works provide glimpses into the lives and landscapes of many cultures. 

Developing a deep love of folk art 

If you have never experienced it, you may be wondering, "What is folk art?"

Folk art can be either decorative or practical. There are some other characteristics that define folk art. As a rule, folk art is:

  • Handmade and may include new, synthetic, or recycled components
  • Inclusive of all intangible forms of expressing culture (dance, poetry, song)
  • Traditional in its shared cultural aesthetics and social issues
  • Changeable over time and can include innovations in tradition
  • Of, by, and for all people and is inclusive of class, community, culture, ethnicity, gender, religion, and social status

Folk art must never compromise on is its ability to visually represent the world’s traditional cultures. 

Dowdle folk art exclusives

Eric Dowdle initially focused on painting realism. While he was at college, his parents moved to Massachusetts. It was here he came to appreciate folk art’s two-dimensional construct by studying Americana and folk art master artist Charles Wysocki’s work. Eric Dowdle realized it was entirely possible to merge his natural inclination toward realism with folk art.  It was that experience that helped him realize that folk art is more than two-dimensional art for those who do not know how to paint. It is storytelling through art. 

Folk art storytelling

One of the things that makes Dowdle’s wooden puzzles so unique is the inclusion of a detailed story legend. This storytelling feature helps puzzle enthusiasts connect with the scenes depicted in Dowdle’s folk art wooden puzzles. 

After two decades of working as a folk artist, Dowdle has hundreds of stories in his paintings. They include major historical events, experiences from places and people he has met, and his personal experiences from his childhood in Idaho and Wyoming, which find a place in many of his works.

Folk art passion

 His upbringing sparked his passion for folk art and motivates him to tell his stories – and the stories of others – through his work. Combining his experiences with those of the people he has met, and the symbols and other details from the places he has visited, helps him answer the question of what is folk art: a story of the relationship between people and their environment.



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