In 1970, a teenager found a hand-made album in a pile of trash in Springfield, Mo. Inside, there were 283 drawings of trains, cars, animals and portraits of people with haunting, circular eyes that stared dead ahead. The album had no name or signature, and each picture was drawn on stationary that belonged to State Hospital No. 3, an old mental institution in Missouri.
The album eventually made its way to an art dealer who discovered the artist’s identity and has now published the works in a book called The Electric Pencil: Drawings from Inside State Hospital No. 3. The book explains that the artist, James Edward Deeds Jr., spent most of his adult life as a patient at State Hospital No. 3, and the story of how he got there goes back to his childhood.