Devil Fishing — Leroy Almon

Leroy Almon, Sr

1938-1997
Tallapoosa, GA
Relief carvings and paintings

I first saw “Devil Fishing” at the House of Blues in New Orleans, when they first opened. I loved it so much that I did the best I could do to bring it home … which at the time meant I could buy a t-shirt with the image emblazoned on the front. Flash-forward a few years, and a few thousand miles of visiting folk artists, and I saw a similar piece of art up for auction at Slotin’s in Atlanta. I had art fever and there was nothing going to stop me.

Although he was born in Tallapoosa, Georgia, Leroy Almon grew up in Ohio, working both for Coca Cola and as a shoe salesman. It wasn’t until meeting the well-known minister and master woodcarver, Elijah Pierce, in his Columbus, Ohio, barbershop, where Leroy took up art.  He convinced Elijah to take him on as an apprentice, and Leroy began to carve his bas relief art with religious, social, and moral themes. The quality of his work didn’t decline as popularity grew, although he would create variations on the same theme, like “Devil Fishing.”

In the early 1980s, returning to Tallapoosa, he became an evangelical preacher and continued to spread the word through his art.

(Photo © Copyright 2006-2013 Kelly Ludwig, all rights reserved)

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.

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

“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.

“Let it Shine: Self-Taught Art from the T. Marshall Hahn Collection”  by Lynne E. Spriggs, Joanne Cubbs, Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, Susan Mitchell Crawley, Michael E. Shapiro and Peter Harholdt, organized by the High Museum of Art, 2001.

“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.

“Flying Free: Twentieth-Century Self-Taught Art from the Collection of Ellin and Baron Gordon” by Ellin Gordon, Barbara L. Luck and Tom Patterson, exhibit catalog for The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center, 1997..

“Souls Grown Deep: African American vernacular Art of the South”, Vol 1, Arnett, et al, 1995.

“Testimony: Vernacular Art of the African-American South: the Ronald and June Shelp Collection”, Cronwill, Danto, Gaither, Gundaker and McWillie, 2001.

“Wos Up Man?” Selections from the Joseph D. and Janet M. Sheen Collection of Self-taught Art”  by Joyce Henri Robinson, Palmer Museum of Art, 2005.

“The Intuitive Eye, The Mendelsohn Collection”  by Gael Mendelsohn, Michael Mendelsohn, Ricco/Maresca Gallery, FotoFolio,U.S., 2000.

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

Self-Taught Folk Artists: “Leroy Almon Sr.”

Modern Primitive: “Leroy Almon”

Gordon Gallery