Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Eccentricity In Paradise



"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures." - Henry Ward Beecher

Amid all of the crazy news of political conventions, people killing each other, baseball uniforms being destroyed; a little bit of eccentricity can be good. And there once was such an artist by the name of Howard Finster from Summerville, Georgia.

A famed folk artist.

Howard died back in 2001 but his art is remembered both in it's style and commentary on life. Not long ago, my wife and I visited his last home and the place he called, Paradise Gardens. It has fallen into disrepair and in need of monetary donations to keep it alive. But to walk through and see his handiwork is a marvel. You can see he touched many lives with his art which fit quite nicely with the eccentricity that is life.


As someone said in a review of his work, "Howard Finster is probably the best-known unknown artist in America. An eccentric whose evangelical work appeared on album covers for R.E.M., Talking Heads and landed him on The Tonight Show."

God's junk man.

"He called himself 'God's junk man' and spent a good part of his life bringing new meaning to the phrase 'Jesus Saves.' His Paradise Garden in Summerville, Georgia is a scrap collector's heaven in which broken glass, rusted bicycles, and cement-filled 'tater chip boxes' fueled his artistic and religious whimsy."


For art fanatics and people who would like to visit the gardens, the folks who work to maintain the property could use your help. The Paradise Garden Foundation is an effort to restore and preserve the work of Howard Finster; meant to keep his legacy alive, promoting education in the arts and extending its enrichment through the unique spirit, setting, and message which is Paradise Gardens.

If you have the heart and willingness to be a part of their efforts, visit the website. Art lasts a life time and the memory of those who bring it to us can as well. Howard took a step to change the lives of other people through his art work. Take a step yourself and see how you can as well.

Stay inspired my friends!

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