Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Favorite Artist

Minnie Evans is one of my favorite artists, not so much for the art she did, although it is very intriguing, but because of the life she lived.  She is a bit of a mystery, and who doesn't love a mystery. Whenever I share her story with students, they are all ears.  Minnie did not even start creating art until her late forties and never had any formal art training. In fact, she only had a fifth grade education. She could not afford drawing paper, so she drew on thrown away pieces of paper and most of her early art was created with crayons.  Just that alone makes me love her.  She was fiercely devoted to her husband and three boys and her Christian faith.  All her life, she had unusual sleeping and waking dreams she claimed were from God and that is what inspired the pieces she made.  Many, including her family, thought she had lost her mind the way she constantly started drawing all the time. Although she never made enough from her art to quit her job as a gatekeeper of a public garden, she kept creating art in her eighties!  One pleasant surprise I had while in New York was finding one of her pieces at the MET.  She created art with everything telling her she couldn't, she shouldn't.  She was an uneducated black woman with no formal art training and she drew pictures of things no one really completely understood.   She loved to create: she believed it pleased God and it did not matter if she were ever famous or not.  She did not leave her family or become melancholy.  She just loved to create the art that she was passionate about.   I love Minnie!

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