“Simple Ways: Folk Art by Leonard Jones” our new show in partnership with the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough opened on January 15, 2016. This 23-piece display of Leonard’s work is being held in the Alexander Dickson House, a Civil War era farmhouse in downtown Hillsborough, NC, that is now home to the local visitors center. The show will run through March 17, 2016.
Our thanks to friend and artist Bob Hart for his help with putting together this collection!
Library Show 2016
“Side Roads: Folk Art from Mike’s Art Truck” is now open at the Orange County Main Library in Hillsborough. This 50-piece exhibition featuring art by nine artists is our third for the local library. We are excited to include the work of St. George in our first show with this North Carolina artist. The show also includes art by Michael Banks, Sam Ezell, Bob Hart, bailey jack, Leonard Jones, Charlie Lucas, Bennie Morrison, & Buddy Snipe. The welcome that the library gives us is truly heart-warming, and we are very happy to be able to share some of this great art with our community. The show will run through February 26, 2016. If you can’t make it to Hillsborough, you can take a peek here on our Flickr site.
Are you a tea drinker in a world of coffee shops? If so, the owners of Tempest in a Teapot, a new tea shop in Durham, feel your pain. They would love to welcome you into the wide world of tea, where your choices are a good bit more than “sweet or unsweet.” We have just helped to decorate their place with an ongoing changeable collection of folk art.
We started them off with some Charlie Lucas, bailey jack, Cornbread, Willie Willie, and a great Haitian piece by Julio Balan. Come check it out!
Tempest in a Teapot
3603 Witherspoon Blvd #109, Durham, NC.
We were proud to be a part of the volunteer team that helped sculptor Patrick Dougherty erect "A Sight to Behold", a masterpiece of environmental art in Hillsborough’s Riverwalk park. Dougherty – and his helpers – bend and twist gigantic piles of twigs and saplings cleared from overgrown forest areas into elaborate structures that blend organically into the landscape.
He has created these fantastic “stickworks” all over the world. Constructed with no hardware, adhesives, or varnishes, the sculptures are intended to eventually disintegrate and return to the earth. Ours should last about two years.
Mike’s Art Truck was one of the sponsors of this great project led by the Hillsborough Arts Council. It was a fantastic experience!
Artist and friend Bennie Morrison, sometimes known as "the brick man," passed away on 12/27/13 at his home in Oglethorpe County, Georgia. He was 72 years old. Bennie was a cheerful man with a devilish smile who led a quiet life. He loved to paint. We will miss him.
Whew! We're beat after our first show ever! It was a great show and we made lots of new friends. Quite a few artists paid us a visit: Ab the Flagman, Bennie Morrison, Bob Hart, Charlie Lucas, Cornbread, Dede Spitz, Eric Legge, James Dean, Jeff Dahlgren, Jim Shores, Joe Legge, Johnny Ace, Jon Whiddon, Michael Banks, Mike & Grace Kelly Laster, Paul Flack, Peter Loose, Shane Campbell, Steven Craig Chandler, & theartist. (Did we miss anyone?)
It was a great show again this year, packed with fantastic art and fantastic art fans. Here's a shot of the Mike's Art Truck booth. We had a blast and made lots of new friends. Special thanks to the artists who came out for the meet & greet on Friday night. Do it again next year??
It was a big thrill this year to represent legendary Southern folk artist and all-round wonderful person, Charlie Lucas. Charlie came out Friday night and all day on Saturday to greet admirers and delight us all with his stories.
Carol Roll also joined us in working the booth on Friday & Saturday. She brought along a carful of beautiful work & just about sold it all! Congratulations to Carol on a great show!
And what a surprise to have Willie Jinks drop by. He lingered long enough to draw a quick portrait of Karen. No, it's not for sale!
Thanks to all the artists & fans who came out for the show!
RAW VISION Magazine Reviews Folk Fest 2008
We are excited to be mentioned as "standing out" by this prestigious art magazine. Read the review.
Ruby's art is featured on the cover of The Folk Art Messenger magazine, published by The Folk Art Society of America. Her produce stand/art gallery will be one of the tour stops for the group's annual conference.
The stunning new book "Tin Man" describes the life and art of Charlie Lucas from a unique point of view - that of Charlie himself. The subject of many books, articles & art papers over the years, here the artist shares his painful life experiences and opens the door to his creations. Beautifully photographed and written! Don't miss it!
That's right, kids. Mr. Imagination is now calling Atlanta home.
We spent some time with him in his new house which he has been busy filling up with fantastic creations. A native of Chicago, Mr. I was trying out life in a smaller town when he lost his house, his dog, and much of his art in a tragic fire. After the fire he decided to relocate to Atlanta where he feels the community is more supportive of folk artists. And the weather's an improvement too. We're looking forward to seeing a lot of him in the near future. Welcome home!
When Woodie Long passed away in October 2009, the world lost not only a wonderful artist, but also one of its sweetest human beings. He left behind a loving wife, a huge volume of work, and many devoted fans. Everyone misses him.
Woodie was a supporter of the Art Creation Foundation for Children, a non-profit organization that provides education and support through art to children in Haiti. Their work in the village of Jacmel is now in its tenth year. Please visit www.artforhaitianchildren.org to learn more about their program or to make a donation. Feel free to make your donation in honor of Woodie. He would have liked that.
After a two-year absence Michael has returned to his hometown of Guntersville, AL. While reconnecting with his roots in North Alabama, he has been creating a body of exciting new work. The new pieces have a fresh look in a style that is distinctively Michael's.
To celebrate his return, Impressions Artist Studio is presenting a show for him entitled "Still Standing" which opens on 4/10/2010. We are pleased to pass the information about the show and reception along to his friends and supporters.
Impressions Artist Studio
410 Gunter Ave.
Guntersville, AL 35976
Saturday, April 10, 2010
2 pm to 8 pm
Michael Banks standing
in his new place
On August 6, 2010, at the age of 78, Willie Tarver passed away at his home in Wadley, Georgia. Only a few months prior, he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, apparently the result of years of breathing smoke both from welding and from cigarettes. The man who crafted many tombstones in the local cemetery chose not to have a burial. Instead his ashes will be incorporated into his art environment. Along with his wonderful wife Mae, his family, friends, and fans, he leaves behind a large body of work.
The family would like to sell the artwork that has been left in their hands. There are many small and large metal & cement sculptures for sale. Mae is hopeful that a museum might be interested in putting some of the large outdoor cement pieces on permanent display. Please send cards & letters to Mae Tarver, 531 Tarver Street, Wadley GA 30477.
Feel free to contact us to check availability of any specific items.
Sadly, Mr. Imagination's hope-filled residence in Atlanta and on this Earth has came to an end. He passed away in an Atlanta hospital from a sudden illness on May 30, 2012.
Here is the story we posted upon his arrival in Atlanta in 2009.
Coming soon to a library near us!
We are busy working on bringing a folk art exhibit to the main branch of the Orange County Public Library in Hillsborough. We expect to have work by a variety of artists and some interesting information about the art and its creators. Art will be for sale and of course our local public library always has free admission! Look for that show to start sometime in January 2014.
More details to come.
We have a winner!
Visitors to our show "Transformation: the Art of Charlie Lucas" registered to win a copy of the book "Tin Man" by Charlie Lucas.
Congratulations to Donna Frederick who had the winning entry! Drop by and visit Donna at The Play House Toy Store in Durham.
The winner was chosen at random by Grant and Nicholas, two adorable and impartial neighbors.
That's the question we were asking when we learned the house on Railroad Street in Thomson, GA, was gone. Number 218 Railroad Street was the house where artist Jake McCord spent many years painting and nailing up his finished work on the porch. We learned the house had been demolished in early June to make way for new construction. Jake has been in poor health recently and retired from his job cutting grass for the city after 39 years.
The good news is that some terrific folks from the brand new local history museum in Thomson hustled to save the famous porch when the house was brought down. They plan to reconstruct it inside the museum building, hopefully by Fall 2009. Wow, that's cool. Check them out & send them some love here: McDuffie Museum
But what about Jake? For a while it looked like Jake was fading as fast as his house. But we are here to tell you, he is doing better than he has in a long while. He is now living in a nursing home where he appears to be thriving. He is back to his two favorite pastimes: watching TV and painting!
We spoke to Jake on the phone and he would be glad to hear from any of his art fans. If you'd like to send him a card or note, send it to Jake McCord, Thomson Manor Nursing Home, 511 Mt. Pleasant Road, Thomson, GA 30824.
Since the start of Mike's Art Truck, the art in our inventory has been on display at Doppler Studios in Atlanta. Now that we are settling into Hillsborough, NC, the time has come to move the art here. In December we loaded up everything and said a fond farewell to our good friends at Doppler. We can never thank Doppler enough for their longtime support of Mike’s Art Truck and our artists. If you need a recording studio in Atlanta, check them out.
If you have a location in the NC Triangle that needs folk art on the walls, let us know!
Doppler Studios, Atlanta, GA
Johnny Ace Resurfaces
After a three year hiatus to deal with health problems, the (Somewhat) Reverend Johnny Ace is back up to his old creative tricks making art! He has left the smog and traffic of Atlanta and relocated to the fresh air of the Georgia coast. We are thrilled with the news that he is feeling well and enjoying painting again. We look forward to seeing the new stuff and sharing it with his fans.
Our new show “Road Trip: Folk Art from Mike’s Art Truck” will open on January 24, 2014 at the main branch of the Orange County Public Library in Hillsborough, NC. Visitors will be able to view the art at no charge during regular library hours through March 23, 2014.
Join us for a reception at the library on Saturday 2/1/14, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Greg and Karen will both be there to talk about the exhibit and discuss collecting folk art. Check out the library!
Bernice Sims Painting Again
Folks have been asking us about the health and well-being of artist Bernice Sims. We were able to spend some time with her at a nursing facility in Pensacola, FL, where she has been living for the past several months. She continues to have problems with her back, but we found her in excellent spirits and happy to have visitors. Thanks to her “best friend” artist Sam Ezell, she now has a supply of paints, brushes, and canvases that she is beginning to work her way through. This is great news for friends of Bernice, as well as all fans of folk art. She would be glad to hear from some of you. Send cards to: Bernice Sims, Pensacola Health Care, 1717 W Avery St, Room 4B / Bed B, Pensacola, FL 32501.
Willie Willie Beats the Odds
A few years ago we all thought artist Willie Willie was a goner. Willie thought so too. But here he is now at his home in Gonzalez, LA, cancer-free, recovered from chemotherapy, sporting his long hair again, and exploding with artistic ideas. He wants everyone to know that he is “still kicking,” very happy to be alive, and ready to make some art! During the time when he was not strong enough to use his signature plasma torch, he continued to make art by experimenting with other techniques, painting on metal, paper, and glass. He also collected a huge reserve of raw materials that are waiting for their magic to be released. Keep an eye out for new work to come, and have a look at some we picked up on our visit. If you’d like to send Willie some love, just email us. We will be glad to forward your messages.
Keeping Woodie Long’s Legacy Alive
OK, here’s a tip. If you are looking for artwork by Woodie Long, we know where to find the mother lode. Woodie and his wife Dot were pretty much inseparable before he passed away in 2009. Dot Long graciously opened her door to us when we passed through Santa Rosa Beach, FL, and showed us a small portion of the massive body of work that Woodie left behind. Not everything is for sale, but there are plenty of pieces that Dot would like to put in the hands of someone who truly appreciates Woodie’s art. You can find Dot and her gallery at http://www.woodielong.net . Let her know if there is something you have been “longing” for.
FOLK ART FROM MIKE'S ART TRUCK
Orange County Public Library, Hillsborough, NC
January 10, 2015 - March 14, 2015
WE HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE SHOW!
Thanks for your support!
PETE THE CAT:
by James Dean
by Sam Ezell
PLUS MORE ART BY
Ab the Flagman - Brian Dowdall - Chris Erskine
bailey jack - Ernest Lee - j.d. Sipe - Willie Willie
Bernice Sims Leaves a Legacy
Artist Bernice Sims passed away on October 23, 2014 in Pensacola, FL, only a few weeks after publishing her memoir "The Struggle: My Life and Legacy." In recent months Bernice had been feeling well and had been in good spirits. She collaborated with writer LaVender Shedrick Williams to put her life story onto the printed page, and she was delighted to have been able to see the project through. She celebrated the publication with a crowd of fans at a local book-signing event. She passed away unexpectedly at the long-term care facility where she had been staying. A strong and independent woman, Bernice Sims not only leaves us her bright poignant paintings, but also her hard-won wisdom. The book can be ordered from www.blackrosewriting.com or major bookstores.
Somehow artist James Dean found enough time away from his busy book-signing schedule to paint a new batch of "Pete the Cat" canvasses just for us! James and his wife Kim have become rock stars of children's literature due to the tremendous success of their books featuring the iconic blue cat, Pete. (Just ask a nearby 7-year-old.) James surprised us with a big shipment of art, making us his first gallery in North Carolina. James is a fantastic artist with a very dry sense of humor. His paintings of Pete doing both ordinary and extraordinary things had already endeared him to an adult audience long before the youngsters got hold of him. We are thrilled by his success, but we are also proud to say we knew him "when." Visit his page on our website to check out the new paintings and to learn more about James Dean.
We visit Rudy Bostic
While we happened to be passing through Savannah, GA, we were fortunate to be able to visit long-admired folk artist Rudolph (Rudy) Bostic. Rudy graciously welcomed us in an attic room filled with his paintings. We have a few of his paintings available for sale on our website. As a young man working at a commercial baking company, Rudy started painting late at night on cardboard that he had salvaged from work. He liked painting on the smooth surface of cardboard, and so has continued to use it for his canvas. Many of the early paintings were round in shape because they were made on the lids from drums of flour. He likes to paint a framed outline or even attach a painted frame cut from cardboard onto his paintings. Most of his subjects are religious or mythological, although he chooses to depict stories that also have a non-sectarian appeal. Rudy has been through some difficult times, but with the help of his family, he is doing well now. He is an easy-going man with a big smile who clearly loves to paint and is proud of what he creates. If you would like to visit him yourself, email us and we can put you in touch.
"Picture Hillsborough" Notecards
Sam Ezell's fifteen Hillsborough paintings in our current show look great on our new notecards! With Sam's permission, we have put them together into three different packs of five cards (with envelopes). We think they will be popular with local residents and visitors. We will be adding them to Sam's page on the Mike's Art Truck website. They are also available at the Hillsborough Arts Council Gift Shop.
"Folk Art From Mike's Art Truck" Opens at the Library
We are delighted to be presenting this 60-piece show at the Orange County Main Library in Hillsborough, NC. The exhibit includes the work of ten self-taught artists, with a particular focus on two: Savannah artist James Dean, and Hillsborough artist Sam Ezell.
“Picture Hillsborough: New Paintings by Sam Ezell” offers a unique artist’s view of his own hometown. For this show, Sam Ezell has painted 15 portraits of historic local buildings. We have installed a clue alongside each painting in the library, so that visitors can try their hands at identifying the locations.
“Pete the Cat: New Paintings by James Dean” is a rare opportunity for fans of the top-selling “Pete the Cat” books to view original work by the cat’s creator, James Dean. The show includes eleven brand-new paintings of the famous blue cat. Children visiting the library can obtain an activity sheet which challenges them to find the “Pete the Cat” paintings throughout the building.
The Orange County Main Library is located at 137 W. Margaret Lane, Hillsborough, NC 27278. Admission is free and the exhibit is open during regular library hours.
The show runs from January 10, 2015 through March 14, 2015.
Click the slideshow above to see images from the show.
During a trip to Columbia, SC, Greg stopped by to say hello to “Chicken Man” Ernest Lee. When he arrived at the vacant lot where Ernest usually sets up shop, it was empty and surrounded by a chain-link fence. But no worries – Chicken Man left a sign on a utility pole for his fans! Greg found him, and Ernest was eager to pass along a large flock of chicken paintings which we will share with you soon. So, heads up out there in Gamecock country! Chicken Man is still there. You just have to look a little harder. As the sign says, you can find him behind the gas station on the corner of Gervais St and Harden.
Visiting Sam “the Dot Man” McMillan
We recently paid a visit to Sam McMillan at his new home at Danby House, an assisted-living facility in Winston-Salem, NC. In recent years it had become more and more difficult for this feisty octogenarian to adequately care for himself living alone. In the past he may have grumbled about never leaving the house beside the old Hanes factory, but now that he has discovered assisted living, he seems to be really enjoying it! He goes on and on about what good care he is getting, and it can be a challenge to keep up with him and his walker. He is still doing some painting and he is looking forward to doing more, possibly out in the beautiful Spring weather. If you are in the area, he would be happy to have visitors, and he would certainly enjoy cards from anyone. Send mail to Sam McMillan, Danby House, Room 225, 3150 Burke Mill Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27103. Call ahead if you plan to visit: 336-768-5656 (main desk). Photos of Sam at his old house are on our Flickr site.
Pete the Cat Fun at the Library
At the conclusion of our recent art show at the Orange County Main Library, we were happy to hold a drawing for an autographed copy of “Cavecat Pete”, the latest book by James Dean. From January 10th through March 14th, library visitors enjoyed activities centered around a exhibition of Dean’s new “Pete the Cat” original paintings. After excited treasure hunt exclamations of “I found it!”, kids of all ages dropped off their entries for the random drawing. Our new friends Caelin Sampey, age 10, and Aedan Sampey, age 8, performed the honor of picking the winner. Don’t be fooled by their facial expressions – these guys are totally trustworthy!
Sam Ezell’s Hillsborough Paintings in Summer Show
The Hillsborough Visitors Center is joining us in planning a show of work by local folk artist Sam Ezell this summer. Ezell’s portraits of historic Hillsborough buildings from our recent show at the library will be displayed at the center beginning on May 29th, in conjunction with Last Fridays Art Walk. Besides being colorful and fun, the paintings offer hints of the history that surrounds us. We also now sell packs of printed notecards featuring the paintings. The Visitors Center is located in the 18th century Alexander Dickson House at 150 E. King Street in Hillsborough, NC. It’s a great place to catch an interesting tour or town event.
Check Out Sam Ezell's New Video
"SAM" is a new film about Hillsborough artist Sam Ezell. The short video is a quick glimpse into Sam's charm, created by Justin Wallace of Film Odyssey. We think it's great!
Irene Tison is a self-taught artist with deep roots in the Gullah Culture of the South. Now living in Charlotte, NC, Irene was raised in the coastal Low Country of South Carolina, and her heart and heritage will always be Gullah. Through her bright bold paintings, Irene shares her own memories along with memories that her parents passed along - memories of hard work and strong family ties. We first learned about Irene from our friends atThe Eno Gallery, and we are excited to introduce her art to you.
In partnership with the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough, we are happy to present Irene’s Tison’s artwork in our new show “Gullah Memories: Folk Art by Irene Tison”, open now through November 19, 2015, at the Hillsborough (NC) Visitors Center. The show opened on September 25, with Irene on hand to tell some of the stories that inspired her paintings.
Chapel Hill Loves "Pete the Cat"
Yes, we know everyone loves Pete the Cat! Delighted youngsters and their parents are enjoying a collection of original Pete paintings by artist James Dean while they hang out in the super-fabulous Chapel Hill (NC) Public Library. It’s worth the trip just to hear the giggles and squeals! Thanks to the artist’s unsurpassed generosity, Pete activities and prizes will help keep kids busy now through December 17, 2015. As Pete says, “It’s all good.”
We have just wrapped up a series of local shows of artwork by folk art rock star Sam Ezell. After Sam went around town immortalizing the historical sites of Hillsborough on canvas, we first presented the paintings as “Picture Hillsborough: Folk Art by Sam Ezell” in the Orange County Main Public Library. Seems like people hated to see them go, so we showed them again at the Hillsborough Visitors Center. Not to be left out, the Orange County Historical Museum took the most recent turn in a show that ended with a kid’s art workshop on 9/25/15. Meanwhile, we put even more Sam art in the Visitors Center in a show called “Just for Fun: More Folk Art by Sam Ezell.” Along with some old favorites, the “Just for Fun” show also featured new paintings - like a Sam version of “Van Gogh’s Bedroom.” You have to smile. And that’s all Sam wants.
Recently we were fortunate enough to spend some time with the artist known as St. George. You may have seen his work around Chapel Hill and wondered about the man who paints big animals and big shoes. It turns out George Spencer is not as mysterious as he is both clever and talented. His creative drive and inquisitive mind keep him producing a wide array of fantastic art. We scooped up some of his very cool paintings to get you started, but we are looking forward to bringing you more. We plan to include art by St. George in our upcoming show for the Orange County Main Library. Look for that in January 2016. While you wait, you can catch paintings by St. George at Fine + Folk Art Carolina in Mebane, NC, this November.
"Picture Hillsborough" show
at the Orange County Historical Museum
Congratulations to all the artists who have been chosen to take part in the 44th Annual Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Northport, AL. Every October this is a great show for art fans and artists alike. If you’ve never been, you should check it out. This year Leonard Jones and bailey jack will be attending for the first time! You will see some of our other friends there as well, so give them some love: Butch Anthony, Michael Banks, Brian Dowdall, Sam Ezell, Ab the Flagman Ivens, Willie Wille Lamendola, Eric Legge, Charlie Lucas, Sarah Rakes, Buddy Snipe, & Ruby C. Williams.