Howard Finster, Man of Visions

Howard Finster

Howard Finster was an American artist and Baptist minister from Georgia. He claimed to be inspired by God to spread the gospel through the design of his swampy land into Paradise Garden, a Folk Art sculpture park with over 46,000 pieces of art. Finster came to widespread notice in the 1980s with his album cover designs for the bands R.E.M. and Talking Heads.

Seeing no contradiction between his divine artistic mission and commercial success, Finster would regularly make copies of his own work, not unlike Andy Warhol, when demand dictated, occasionally getting help from family and friends. In fact, Finster fully embraced his celebrity, appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and in People magazine.

Popular among Folk Art collectors, works by Finster are also housed within the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and elsewhere. In 1992, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art organized one of the first major Outsider Art exhibitions, Parallel Visions, which included Finster works. Interviewed by Tessa DeCarlo and Susan Subtle Dintenfass for their review of the exhibit in the Los Angeles Times, Finster boldly stated:

"As far as I'm concerned, there ain't no outsiders of anything. If you're an artist, you're an artist. If you're a mechanic, you're a mechanic. If you're a farmer, you're a farmer. Ain't no outsider farmers, ain't no outsider mechanics. That's just something that someone's got up to class things. I ignore it."

Auction Results Howard Finster