Sunday, April 29, 2012

You Don't Have To Be A Perfect Artist To Work In Art

These are the words of Reverend Howard Finster--self-proclaimed "Man of Visions" and "Stranger from Another World." I want you to think about that last sentence. OK, don't just think about it. Go and write it down in your journal or put it on a sticky note and hang it in your studio. Why? Because those are words to live by, to create by, and to be inspired by.

At the age of 60, Howard had a vision from God that told him to paint sacred art. His response was, "Lord, I can't paint. I don't have no education in that." But he heeded the call and he did it anyway. From that day forward, until the day he died, Howard created over 46,000 pieces of art plus the art environment in Georgia known as Paradise Gardens. 46,000 pieces of art!!! I can't stop thinking about that. I haven't stopped thinking about Howard, his art, or his words since visiting this exhibit almost a month ago.

I've been a huge fan of outsider art for many years, but I never had the chance to view Finster's work in person until this exhibit. I took my watercolor Moleskine with me, and filled a number of pages with images from some of his paintings along with bits of text and quotes. Howard numbered each piece of art he made, so I included the number in my sketchbook as well.

One of the reasons I'm so drawn to Howard's work is because almost every piece is covered in text. I don't think Howard stopped to worry about whether his art was good enough, or important enough, or whether the words were spelled correctly. He was, after all, just doing what God told him to do.

If you like folk art, outsider art, religious art, art with text, or just need a big dose of inspiration, I strongly encourage you to visit this or any other exhibit of Howard Finster's art whenever or wherever you have the opportunity. Sometimes it's not just the art, but the story behind the art that can move us, touch us, or have a profound effect on us. Thank you Howard for reminding me that I don't have to be a perfect artist to work in art. From now on I'm going to think of you as my "garding" angel.


Linda said...

Wow. Thank you,Pat, for sharing this interesting artist, art, and quote. I'm writing this quote down as a reminder to myself too. Thanks so much for sharing it. Linda E.

lee said...

oh thanks for sharing that I am writing it down, and going to look him up. Loved looking at your sketchbook

TJ said...

BAD NASTY ART! I just love this. Thanks for introducing me to this artist. I can see how you can't stop thinking about him!!

Candace said...

Wow, I like all those kinds of art. I've heard of Howard before, looks like a great exhibit and you did it justice with your drawings.