Have you ever heard of Paradise Garden, in Summerville, GA? I actually grew up only twenty minutes or so from it, but I never visited there until we moved away and came back for Christmas break. Aren’t people weird that way!
Howard Finster was the brainchild behind Paradise Garden, which falls somewhere between “masterpiece” and “junk heap”. At the age of 60, Finster had a vision and was “commissioned by God” to paint 5,000 paintings. I’ll never know if he really was, or if he was just crazy, but it’s a fascinating story nonetheless, and from this crazy old eccentric, we were blessed with Paradise Garden.
We also got album covers for two of my favorite bands–R.E.M. and Talking Heads.
Personally, I love the album cover for Little Creatures by The Talking Heads. It’s the perfect cover for pretty much the greatest album ever made.
“There’s a sucker born every minute,” my mother-in-law mutters as we trudge through on this muddy and windy day.
“There has never been anything more beautiful than this!” exclaims my husband’s uncle.
I fall somewhere in the middle. A lot of people say there’s a fine line between “crap” and “art”, and I believe Howard FInster took that line and decided it was the highway of life and would toe it until death. On one hand, I am not a fan of “junk”, especially when there’s a lot of it all crammed together. But on the other hand, I love things being repurposed to make other things, I like pretty things, and I like weird things.
All in all, it made for an interesting spur-of-the-moment trip. Howard said, “I took the pieces you threw away, and put them together by night and day. Washed by rain, dried by sun, a million pieces all in one.” Sometimes you feel like you’re a throw-away. And then some wonderful and weird person comes along, and tells you you’re beautiful, that you could be part of a masterpiece. And I can definitely appreciate that.