Howard Finster (1916-2001)
Abraham from a Penny
Don’t Put God Off
Night before Christmas
Reverend Howard Finster, a self-proclaimed “Man of Visions”, Finster was one of America’s most widely known and prolific self-taught artists producing over 46,991 pieces of art before his death in 2001. He saw himself as a sacred artist, tirelessly recording his visionary prophesies and providing glimpses of a celestial outer space world that God revealed to him. These visionary journeys were very real for Finster, providing a limitless variety of images for his creative endeavors.
Born in rural Alabama in 1916, Finster went on to become a preacher, tent revivalist, and “master of 22 different trades” before building his roadside tribute to inventors the Plant Farm Museum. Later dubbed “Paradise Garden,” this rock and junk encrusted wonderland became the focus of Finster’s life work. In 1976, however, this focus shifted. As he was using his fingers to apply paint to a refurbished bicycle, Finster noticed that the paint smudge on the tip of his finger had formed a human face. A voice spoke to him, saying, “paint sacred art.” Finster began churning out thousands of sermon-laden artworks with subjects ranging from historical characters and popular culture icons like Elvis Presley to evangelistic fantasy landscapes and futuristic cities. Most works are meticulously coated in Finster’s own hand-lettered words and Biblical verse.
This humble God fearing man had a vision from God at the age of 59. From that day forward he followed God’s call to paint sacred art. He worked tirelessly day and night until he was called home at the age of 84, producing over 46,000 works of art and building a place of inspiration to continue his message long after his passing. Howard Finster had the strongest work ethic. He was re-purposing and recycling before recycling was cool.