American Folk Art Legend Howard Finster & His Paradise Gardens

Photo by April Hill Rankin

Howard Finster (1916 – 2001) was an American folk artist, Baptist minister and lawnmower repairman from Pennville, Georgia.  Finster claimed that his artistic work was inspired by visions from God and his creative mission was to spread the gospel.

Photo by April Hill Rankin

Finster created Paradise Gardens in his home’s expansive yard in Pennville, Georgia which contains thousands of works of art.  Themes of his work range from American popular & historical icons such as Elvis Presley and George Washington to biblical figures and members of his own family.

Photo by April Hill Rankin

Finster’s work is most famously displayed on the Talking Heads‘ album cover for Little Creatures. In 1985, Rolling Stone magazine selected this work by the artist as album cover of the year.

Photo by April Hill Rankin

Finster also gained national fame after his collaborative work with Athens, Georgia-based band R.E.M. The band filmed the video for “Radio Free Europe” in Finster’s Paradise Gardens, and used one of the artist’s works as the cover for their second album Reckoning. Subsequently, the band recorded the song “Maps and Legends” (for their album Fables of the Reconstruction) as an homage to Finster.

Photo by April Hill Rankin

Throughout his creative career, Howard Finster was responsible for introducing millions to American naive art, but even with his increased fame, he remained focused on his works’ religious outreach to the public.

Photo by April Hill Rankin

Photo by April Hill Rankin

Photo by April Hill Rankin

Photo by April Hill Rankin

Photo by April Hill Rankin

 

Here’s a video to learn & see more of artist Howard Finster & his Paradise Gardens…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxO8JqZM9c0

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AMERICANA Classic Vintage is the source for American originals.

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5 Comments

Filed under Legends of Americana

5 responses to “American Folk Art Legend Howard Finster & His Paradise Gardens

  1. Lori @ Americana

    I absolutely love this!

  2. april rankin

    Your blog article was great. We had a great time visiting Paradise Garens that day and I loved introducing his art work to my daughter who is just discovering art herself.

  3. Ina

    That is so cool, I loooove things like that!

  4. Margaret

    I love this article and April got some great pictures. Glad she is interested in art.

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