If you were an art student or indie rock fan growing up in the South during the 1980s, it is very likely that you made a pilgrimage to Howard Finster's Paradise Garden in Summerville, Georgia.
Finster started the four-acre garden in 1961, but in 1976 he had a vision that directed him to create sacred art: the full details of his journey to visionary artist are in the biography on his website.
I had the opportunity to hear him lecture and sing bluegrass gospel, and visited Paradise Garden twice: I am posting my photographs from April of 1990 in two separate blogs because of the number of photos (part two will be up in a few days). Minimal commentary - just enjoy.
Welcome to the Garden ~ The Main Trail:
The Bicycle Tower:
The Folk Art Chapel:
Howard loved Coca-Cola:
Finster's workspace (through a peephole in a window):
The garden was unending in its detail; nearly every square foot had some sort of Finsteresque transformation:
The Mirror House:
The garden wall and details:
One man's trash is another man's opportunity for artistic creation and a public service message all-in-one:
A practical man, that Howard Finster.
After he died in 2001, Paradise Garden fell into disrepair and many of the best pieces from the garden went to the permanent collection of the High Museum in Atlanta. The garden is supposedly being restored at this time and is still open for visitors.
Howard Finster Part Two will post in a couple of days.
Currently reading: Neil Gaiman's Stardust
Currently listening to: REM Reckoning