Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Howard Finster! Rest in peace.

Today would be the 92nd birthday of the Reverend Howard Finster, the eccentric artist who claimed in 1976 that a smudge of paint on his finger told him to "paint sacred art". Finster is credited with fueling the "outsider art" movement. He went on to paint thousands of paintings, of which I'm privileged to own a couple. He counted as his friends David Byrne of the Talking Heads and Michael Stipe of R.E.M. He painted album covers for both bands. The song Maps and Legends by R.E.M. is a tribute to Mr. Finster. I painted the above painting of Howard Finster in 1992 as a baby gift for my friends Scott and Lori, who are fans of his art, after the birth of their daughter Beatrice. I showed a polaroid of the painting to Howard during a visit my family took to his Paradise Garden in Penville, Georgia. He said that a lot of people have drawn his picture, and that mine was "real good".  Howard Finster died October 22nd, 2001. So, happy birthday Howard, I hope you're happy at whatever planet you landed on.
Painting the portrait of Howard Finster.

Howard giving me a brief drawing lesson.

This is Howard holding my daughter Kelly, 
who is now 17 years old.


Doug said...

I think you should have kept the original and given your friends a Kinko copy. That's what I think.

The painting looks really good... except for those ants crawing over his shoulders and head... did he always have this ant problem?

Shano said...

Wow! Thank you for the compliment on my blog. Your are an incredibly talented artist. Best to you and your art!

Kate said...

Very cool....at first I thought that painting was digital. Interesting to see the actual size, too! Larger than I expected. Is it acrylic?

Sounds like HF was a very interesting person.

Nice post, Bill.

Bill Ross said...

This was an acrylic painting. Monday I am going to post an oil painting that I painted early 1981. Stay tuned! Ooooo, the anticipation! I LOVE the smell of oil paint. Reminds me of college.

Tomás Serrano said...

I´m a fan of Talking Heads, I brought when it came out the LP "Little Creatures" and always liked the cover. Is fantastic how I know now who is the author!
It´s a wonderful portrait, Bill

Anonymous said...

MAPS AND LEGENDS what a fantastic song from REM has to be one of their very best

Anonymous said...

I still remember when we went to see Howard Finsters home, you were so excited and bought almost every painting stuff which he had. I took the photographs with you and Howard Finster, did I? I still got this little wooden angel.

Petra Switzerland