One of my favorite neighborhood art spots is called Creativity Explored, "a nonprofit visual arts center where artists with developmental disabilities create, exhibit, and sell art." Or so it says on its website.At first, I felt conflicted about Creativity Explored. Much of the art is geniunely impressive, and a few of the artists are quite talented and produce truly beautiful work. But the greatness is complicated by the artists' disabilities. So many works seem truly unique, yet you can't shake the feeling that you're admiring the product of the very thing that prevents the artist from living a "normal" life.The fact is that I really like a lot of it, especially the handwriting/drawings of John Patrick McKenzie. John's handwriting is bold and jaunty in a way that, at first, makes it look like a cross between graffiti and first-grade. But then beyond the initial impression, it becomes clear that the page is often organized very precisely. As he tends to color in the enclosed areas of each letter — the interior of an R, D, P, etc — the page takes on a heavier graphic dimension.Content-wise, each work of John's works is thematic, though "thematic" may be too fancy a term for it. Each contains a set of words or phrases that is shuffled in a variety of ways throughout the work, though some others just contain seemingly random individual words written again and again. Humor (probably unintentional) often arises from his selection of the names of stars of the 60's and 70's in his work, as well as fellow Creativity Explored artists.Generally, he'll pick a subject — for instance, the 1964 Chevy Impala — and he'll write a series of statements about how certain people feel about the subject. "Bruce Lee likes the 1964 Chevy Impala. Doris Tokuda likes the 1964 Chevy Impala," etc. The work above has a slightly different arrangement: "Sylvester Stallone likes Chef Boyardee … Muhammad Ali likes soul food."Sometimes, the subject of the work veers away from the literal. John has developed a sort of code for referring to all sorts of subjects, so you'll see phrases like "redneck pizza sheriff," "spring chicken," "cold turkey," "avocado ice cream," and many others used in strange contexts. Sometimes they're code, sometimes they're just what they are. Someone once told me that "avocado ice cream" is code, but recently a teacher at CE theorized that John had recently eaten at Mitchell's.Like much outsider art, John's work is exotic — the and it's hard to admire and discuss it without fetishizing the condition that contributes to it. But you could also say that John's work makes this less of an issue because it is so visually appealing, and often so poetic.The SF Weekly wrote an article about John in 2002: "Osama bin Laden dislikes kelloggs frosted mini wheats"