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 Gardens, a folk art sculpture garden with over 46,000 pieces of art. His creations include outsider art, naïve art, and visionary art. Finster first came to widespread notice in the 1980s with his album cover designs for R.E.M. and Talking Heads.
Man of Visions Now on This Earth
In this remarkable book, illustrations of Finster's exuberant paintings, sculptures, buildings, and gardens are accompanied by his own inimitable narrative.
A backwoods Baptist preacher inspired by the Gospel, visitations from the dead, and visions of extraterrestrial life, the Reverend Howard Finster is an unlikely candidate for art celebrity. Yet his work has been shown in museums and galleries from Soho to Australia and from Los Angeles to the Venice Biennale. He's been a guest on the "Tonight Show" and at the Library of Congress. He's been in People, The Wall Street Journal, and dozens of other national publications. He's done album covers for the Talking Heads and R.E.M., and he's painted Easter eggs for the White House. Collectors buy his works before the paint dries, sometimes acquiring them sight unseen over the phone. As Finster says, "No tellin' how many fans I got now. There's millions of 'em."
Few of those fans can make the pilgrimage to Finster's Paradise Garden in Pennville, Georgia. Stranger from Another World solves that problem by providing 150 illustrations of the artist's exuberant paintings, sculptures, buildings, and gardens, along with his own inimitable narrative. Drawn from hundreds of hours of conversation edited by Tom Patterson, Finster's story has the ear-tickling eloquence that has long enraptured both his congregations and his art fans. As the reverend himself says: "Sometimes people come here, and they look like sour-pusses. But after they hear me talk twenty or thirty minutes, and after they go over the gardens and come out, they just fall in love with me."