Great review of Folk Fest

Courtesy of Lynne Brown, Folk Art Messenger:

Good News! THE FOLK ART MESSENGER is going to the designer today and is
already full, so I will give you my report on Folk Fest on our FASA
“chatline.”

There were 100 booths and thousands of people, especially on Saturday,
August 21, when sales were brisk and some dealers told me that it was
their best fair ever. (Micki Beth Stiller of Cotton Belt told me this.)
Many established dealers brought masterpieces from the A List that they
had been holding back for quite awhile.

I was ready to buy, and so was my family! Jim bought a huge AB the
Flagman red eagle which projects from the wall. Margaret found hand
made folk art in the traditional mode from artist Wayne Ayers of
Chappell Hill, Texas. He practically sold out his booth on Saturday,
especially to one dealer in N. C. Wayne, a former brick layer,
specializes in copying traditional Americana from the book SPIRITUALLY
MOVING. His weathervanes and whirligigs are noteworthy. “I could have
sold that fish and that dog many times,” he said. His craftsmanship is
superb, and his prices are almost unbelievably low. Ross bought another
Son Thomas head from Micki Beth Stiller. It has such haunting eyes. He
also bought two drawings by Bobby Williford from Bruce Shelton. Bobby’s
intense, highly detailed dreamscapes are filling up Ross’s condo. I
bought THE SWORD SWALLOWER by Levent Isik, at Duff Lindsay’s wonderful
booth.

Jeannine Taylor’s quadruple booth was excellent! She featured the work
of four artists only, so each artist could present a body of work. Ab
was one of the artists, and his work this year was stronger than ever.

There was much talk about Andrei Palmer, a young self-taught artist from
Stone Mountain, GA, adopted from Romania at the age of 6. He sold 4 of
his handmade vintage cars and took special orders for 8 of them by
Saturday afternoon. Each car takes about 2 weeks to make and the price
is right at $100. each. He mostly uses recycled cardboard. It was fun
to open up the door of each and check out the complicated interiors.
Georgine Clarke put her stamp of approval on them, and so did Marion
Harris, who, it is rumored, will present a selection of them at Outsider
Art Fair in February.

Another artist causing a stir was Brenda Davis of Alabama. Marcia Weber
had one of her masterpieces, FINANCIALLY BLESSED. Marcia discovered her
and has been representing her for four years. Look for this work at
Outsider Art Fair where Marcia will have a booth for the first time.
Congrats, Marcia!

Bruce New made his debut at Lindsay Gallery (discovered by dealer Mike
Smith). These abstracted pen and collage style drawings would appeal to
young collectors. Duff featured the memory paintings of Janis Price, of
Newark, Ohio, which boasted vibrant colors, strong composition and
attention to every detail.

My friends Tim and Karen Chambers of Highlands, N. C. brought their
colorful chickens to the fair and did very well with them. Tim said,
‘I was blown away by all the imaginations in this room. I wish we had
done Folk Fest before now, and we will definitely come back next year!”
They took a small part of Aaron Hequembourg’s booth. Aaron has been
artist in residence at the Bascom in Highlands. He has a unique style,
evoking the southern heritage of the farms and the people who loved this
way of life in “the old days.”

Bruce Shelton presented some new sculptures by Tim Lewis, and I thought
THE LAST SUPPER was an especially fine example of Tim’s stone carving.
Shelton also had a selection of very powerful drawings by the late Roy
Ferdinand of New Orleans. Bruce told me that he is presently working on
a book about Helen La France, who is still living, but is not creating
art any longer.

Jimmy Hedges had more work by Alan Wayne Bradley, who has recently moved
to Oregon. I was sorry to hear that he is leaving the South. Bradley
is an artist to watch.

Minnie Adkins was looking very well, and her booth featured, not just
her work and that of her grandson, but also various Kentucky carvers.
They placed her on row one, certainly where she deserved to be.

A group of collectors sat around eating BBQ and analyzing the way Folk
Fest has evolved over 17 years. We decided that the first five years
were all about the King of Folk Art, Howard Finster. You could find his
work in every other booth. Then arrived the era of Mose T and Jimmy
Lee, with their work omnipresent. Lately it’s been Cornbread and
Michael Banks, just peppered throughout North Atlanta Trade Center.

Kate Boccia , a lovely woman from Alpharetta, GA, provided a handsome
space for the new, more abstracted work of Michael Banks. Michael was
there throughout the weekend, meeting people and explaining his new
work. See the last RAW VISION to see a great example of this new work.
Margaret, our daughter, has written a review of Ted Oliver’s show held
in Tryon, N. C. One artist she selected from this huge exhibition and
sale was Michael.

You can figure out what captured my imagination at Folk Fest. Kudos
also to Jeanne Kronsnoble of Main Street, Le Primitif, Gordon Gallery,
Ginger Young, Potteryman, and ladies of Around Back at Rocky’s Place.

I will not dwell on the problem of faux folk art.

I am thankful for the herculean efforts of Steve and Amy who continue
to build on their successes, who do a memorable job with all of their
publicity, whether on video, on billboards, in print, on radio. It is
up to collectors to do homework, talk to artists and dealers, and make
your choices of the work you love and art that will greet you when you
come home.

Lynne Browne, Senior Correspondent for THE FOLK ART MESSENGER