THE WORLD’S BEST FOLK ART SHOW
By Doc Lawrence
ATLANTA-This weekend is the 20th edition of the most colorful, family friendly art extravaganza in America. My first visit to Folk Fest got me hooked on the magic that comes from talking to artists and gallery owners about the paintings, wood carvings, face jugs, painted walking canes and objects that defy description. Here, in a large auditorium ordinarily used for trade shows, self-taught, outsider artists gather for three glorious days of pure joy and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
Folk Fest provided the opportunity for me to meet Reverend Howard Finster, the sage of Summerville, Georgia who painted according to God’s instructions. The great Myrtice West began painting scenes based on the Book of Revelations after her daughter was murdered. O. L. Samuels, once a prizefighter from rural South Georgia, said he could walk through the woods and certain sticks and fallen limbs would “talk," He took them home, carved images with a knife and painted what he heard. Each of them (and many more) have their works in the Smithsonian.
|Wood Construction by Ab the Flagman|
The brainchild of a delightful couple, Amy and Steve Slotin, Folk Fest has grown in size and reputation. Many of the artists are from highly inaccessible parts of the rural South. Their art is inspired by spirits and an environment most would never experience. In other words, the homogenization of their culture hasn’t happened, but many are on up in the years and their talents likely will pass away as they leave this planet. America and in particular the Deep South will be the lesser.
Parking is free. Food and beverages are available from several vendors, the facility is very comfortable and you’ll be hard pressed to find anything other than smiling faces and interesting conversation.
|Visionary Painting by Helen LaFrance|
Collecting folk art is an adventure that can be a profitable. I have early works of several notables like Ms. West, Reverend Finster and Lorenzo Scott, which have appreciated exponentially. I will never sell them because I love how I feel when I’m working with these mounted on my walls.
Come on over to Folk Fest beginning Friday evening. Meet many of the greatest of all artists, listen to the blues and let the kids enjoy themselves. There is no other experience like it.
I’ll be there, meeting old friends, making some new ones.