Questions about an item or an artist?...ready to buy?...

Rev. Johnnie F. Simmons
    When Johnnie Simmons was growing up on St. Helena Island, SC, he and his family were farmers. Back then - not so long ago really - farming required the work of the entire family, young and old. It was not unusual for farming children to miss enough schooldays to be held back a grade because they were busy on the farm. Not to be discouraged, Johnnie stuck to schoolwork against the odds until he graduated high school in 1969. That same year, he enlisted in the Army and shipped out to Vietnam, where he served until 1972. When he returned to the South Carolina Low Country, he carried with him images of the war that he couldn’t forget. Before most of us knew anything about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Johnnie and so many others were learning how to live with PTSD, or dying from it. Johnnie persevered, working a variety of jobs and building a family. He worked as a bus driver. He became a preacher, now Reverend Johnnie F. Simmons, with a devoted following. 
    It was during a PTSD treatment program that he had the first spark of becoming an artist. It happened that he came upon a rock, an ordinary rock lying in the dirt, that appeared to be shaped like the head of a lion. He took it with him, mused about it, then painted it with a lion’s features. Finding the rock inspired him to look at ordinary objects in a new way. He began making out figures in the woodgrain of lumber and tracing them with a pencil. Before long a landscape evolved and a story developed. One day killing time in a store, Johnnie wandered through the arts-and-crafts department and came upon a wood-burning kit. He thought it might be fun. Gradually he added wood-burning to a plain wooden board, then added paint and details and finally a story. Those elements combined to become a complete and original work of art. From then on, Rev. J. F. Simmons has been an artist.
   The scenes and stories in Simmons’ work are steeped in the Gullah culture of the Low Country. He writes titles and captions in the Gullah dialect, which can be both delightful and challenging. Animals often have a point of view that informs the story, calling out the foolish behavior of the humans involved. Look closely at his art and you will see that Simmons has hidden the occasional lion’s head, paying homage to the rock that started it all. 
Early Branch, SC
woodburning and paint
on wood
22" x 15.5"
"Pelican Watch De Crab Bato"

"I wonder is him all right.
Him come in late last night. But him clean that bato out clean. Not a fin he leave in it."
woodburning and paint
on wood
12" x 13"
"Crabing fa Blue Crab
with chicken back
on hand line crabing"
woodburning and paint
on wood
17" x 8.5"
"Da Gullah Job Fair 
Now Hireing
with Bennies. Need a
Job See Bob"
"After the road
marsh tacky mom and colt taken
a warke on Horse Island"
woodburning and paint
on wood
16" x 11"
woodburning and paint
on wood
16" x 11"
"Work Hard
Love Hard and
Live Well fa de Lord"