Saturday, 8 September 2018

paradise gardens

Messy Nessy Chic correspondent Francky Knapp delivers a nice retrospective look at eccentric Baptist minister Howard Finster (*1916 - †2001) called to spread the gospel through Paradise Gardens, open air church office, home and studio in Summerville, Georgia in the southern US, peopled with nearly fifty thousand pieces of outsider, naïve and visionary art—genres which overlapped in Finster’s repertoire but he was largely responsible for gaining their purchase in in popular culture.
In the mid-1970s, Finster’s sculpture garden began receiving national attention and was commissioned to execute four painting for the Library of Congress, acting on divine orders to create sacred art, the subjects being as diverse and iconic as aliens, UFOs, Ronald Reagan, Elvis Presley, etc. In 1983, the band REM filmed their music video for “Radio Free Europe” on the grounds of Paradise Gardens and two years later, Talking Heads commissioned cover art (pictured) from Finster for their album Little Creatures (“And She Was,” “Road to Nowhere”).
Notwithstanding Finster’s success in introducing millions to his style and inspiring the likes of fellow artists Keith Haring and Purvis Young, he remained committed to this mission of religious outreach, saying he’d managed to sneak in twenty-six verses of scripture into that cover and to think of the millions it’s reached. Learn more and see a whole gallery of Finster’s works at the links up top.