May 2011 Roadtrip
First stop: Ron “Fish” Clifton; Ridgeway, VA
Since my previous visit in March, Ron “Fish” Clifton brought home to Ridgeway, Virginia a fish sculpture of his which had been hanging in a park in Myrtle Beach for several years.
A squirrel had nested, died, and became skeletal right in the fish’s stomach. Perhaps artists can’t improve on nature, but nature can improve on art!
That evening we attended a “jam session” at Billy’s Mountain Music in nearby Bassett, Virginia.
(Billy Shelton in blue)
Third stop: Vollis Simpson; Lucama, NC
Next morning it was off to Wilson, North Carolina to visit the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park (restoration/relocation) Project, and try some more “painting with light” night pictures at Mr. Simpson’s original site.
Thanks to Janet Kagan, former director of the Whirligig Park Project, for sending this picture of Mr. Simpson being presented with a gift print I had left with her (that was taken during my March 2011 visit)
above photo: ©2011 Janet Kagan
Forth stop: Bishopville, SC
Bishopville, South Carolina is home to both Pearl Fryar and his topiary gardens, and Dalton Stevens, AKA: The Button King.
If Mr. Fryar was home, the artist stayed ‘in residence’ during our visit on that high 90’s South Carolina day, but we saw Mr. and Mrs. Fryar the next morning in the local Waffle House where (according to the documentary, A Man Called Pearl) they get free breakfasts in exchange for the most unusual shrubbery likely to be seen in front of any Waffle House!
Mr. Stevens was a gracious and patient host to my unscheduled photo shoot agenda. Having had fifteen minutes in the mass media many times (Carson, Letterman, Rivera, Regis, Cosby, and more), he is a real pro as a portrait subject, and commented on how he remembered having to walk through a door numerous times until “the cameraman was satisfied.” Inside the Museum a DVD plays over a button encrusted coffin, and reviews his many media appearances: including when he informed Johnny Carson that in the unfortunate event of something happening to his (now recently deceased) dear wife, he planned to seek out one of Johnny’s well-alimonied exes.
Fifth stop: John Culver; Sparta, GA
(portrait: 2010) John Culver’s dedicated page
Next we spent a day in Sparta, Georgia with visionary artist John Culver. John works as a meat cutter in the local grocery, and draws during his work breaks. He lives in a double-wide with family members, and works in a small room on a drafting table in front of the window. John gets up very early in the morning, gets in a couple hours of drawing before leaving for work, and resumes his time-compressed explorations that range from Egyptian pyramids to futuristic spacecraft and energy sources during most of his after work hours.
John and I began a video project, and I shot a number of copy photos of his paintings.
|detail of left|
|All paintings and drawings above © John Culver||(detail)|
Last stop: Saint Eddie Owens Martin’s Pasaquan
Pasaquan is only open the first Saturday of the month from April through November, but is a real treat– well worth the effort. Time and weather exposure have taken their toll, but the spirit of Saint EOM is irrepressible and pervasive!
Entrance to house.