B.F. Perkins – “All my works have a message”

Hartline Assembly of God Church –
Benjamin Franklin “B. F.” Perkins

February 6, 1904 — January 12,1993
Bankston, AL
Folk art environment and painter
Built: 1969-1993

Benjamin Franklin Perkins once was a marine who guarded President Coolidge, and later he was a well-known traveling evangelist who preached at revival tent shows.

In 1969, Perkins returned to Alabama. He established a congregation of the Church of God and built a church and meeting hall near his small studio home located on 5 acres at Bankston near his birthplace. He began painting and adorning his environment with patterns and signs in red, white and blue. His studio was a fascinating place, filled with mottoes and objects he had painted. He painted mostly in acrylic, often on canvas. His unique style had an exotic but genuine mix of patriotism and religious fervor.

His signs and painted patterns adorned his home environment. B.F.s’ bold, brightly colored paintings favored three themes: illustrated Biblical stories or sayings, patriotic scenes and slogans, and images such as the Sacred Condor and Love Birds, influenced by the of the 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb. According to Rev. Perkins, “All my works have a message.”

In 1992, Perkins suffered a second heart attack and was urged to move to a managed care facility. Each day he would drive the five miles to his studio to paint and on Sundays to preach. Perkins died on January 12, 1993 at the age of 88. Today his works are in collections throughout the world.

(Photos © Copyright Kelly Ludwig, all rights reserved)

perkins lovebirds perkins_mailbox

Bibliography & Links:

“Detour Art—Outsider, Folk Art, and Visionary Folk Art Environments Coast to Coast, Art and Photographs from the Collection of Kelly Ludwig” by Kelly Ludwig, Kansas City Star Books, 2007.

“20th Century American Folk, Self Taught, and Outsider Art” by Betty-Carol Sellen, Cynthia J. Johnson, Neal-Schuman Publishers, New York, 1993.

“American Self-Taught Art: An Illustrated Analysis of 20th Century Artists and Trends with 1,319 Capsule Biographies” by Florence Laffal and Julius Laffal, 2003.

“Contemporary American Folk Art  – A Collector’s Guide”  Chuck and Jan Rosenak, Abbeville Press, 1996.

“Contemporary Folk Art: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum” by Tom Patterson, Watson-Guptill Publications/New York, 2001.

“Museum of American Folk Art Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century American Folk Art and Artists” by  Chuck and Jan Rosenak, Abbeville Press, New York, 1990.

“O Appalachia: Artists of the Southern Mountain” by Ramona Lampell and Millard Lampell with David Larkin, 1989.

“Self-Made Worlds: Visionary Environments” by Roger Manley and Mark Sloan, Aperture, New York, 1997.

“Self Taught, Outsider, and Folk Art—A guide to American Artists, Locations and Resources” by Betty-Carol Sellen with Cynthia J. Johnson, McFarland & Company, 2000.

Self-Taught Folk Artists: “Benjamin Franklin Perkins”

Outsider Folk Art

Robert Cargo Folk Art Gallery: “Rev. Benjamin F. Perkins”

Marcia Weber/Art Objects: “Benjamin Franklin Perkins”