I often like to periodically check out sites that deal in folk art and one of my favorites is Candler Arts, an Atlanta based site that has an online gallery and blog. I generally find something new and interesting, most often the result of self-taught artists. This piece for sale there recently caught my eye. It’s a painting of God expelling Lucifer from Paradise by Lorenzo Scott, a self taught visionary painter from the Atlanta area. I was intrigued by the composition and decided to look up more on Mr. Scott.
Born in 1934 in Georgia, he moved in the 1960’s to New York City, where he noticed the numbers of people who paint and sell their work outside the museums there. He had maintained an interest in drawing since he was boy in school to the point of distraction from his studies but that was about the extent of his knowledge about art. Inspired by these other artists, he started going to the Metropolitan Museum and began studying the works of the Renaissance masters, examining closely how they painted the features of their subjects and the manner in which they composed their pictures. In a way, he went through a Renaissance guild-like training as an artist without the benefit of a Master to fine tune and influence his talent. After several years in NY, Mr. Scott returned to Atlanta and continued his studies before the paintings of the High Museum there.
What emerged was a truly interesting mix of Renaissance-influenced imagery and the folk art hand, a unique interpretation that had classic themes and the raw immediacy of the self-taught visionary. Vibrant. His work caught the attention of collectors and curators and over the years he has been the subject of several museum shows and has placed his work in a number of museums, including two at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. In the 1990’s he began to include with his classical based compostions a bit of work with more contemporary and traditional folk art themes, many based on visions that, Mr. Scott has said, come to him while asleep.
His framing is also unique. They are generally self-made from from lumber topped with bondo, the autobody filler, then painted with gold paint. They carry that same mix of classical and folk as the paintings and are a perfect companion for the work.
It’s great to see folks who find a way to tap into this inner pool of creativity, inspired by brushing against things far removed from themselves. For Mr. Scott it was seeing the work of the masters and carrying their work forward in his own personal style.