Jungle Woman Tames James Harold Jennings

James Harold Jennings

April 20, 1930 — April 20, 1999
Pinnacle, NC
Folk art environment, Painter

After dropping out of school in the fifth grade and being home schooled by his mother, a teacher herself, James Harold Jennings grew to love words and eventually more esoteric subjects such as metempsychosis and astral projection.  Beginning in 1959, he worked as a projectionist at a local drive-in theater owned by his stepfather, and he was undoubtedly influenced by the B-movies that sometimes featured Amazon women. Drinking and watching the adult movies eventually made “his nerves go bust,” and in 1968 he moved home to take care of his mother until her death in 1974.  Supplemented by a small inheritance and income from recycled cans found along the highway, James began creating a series of interconnected, brightly painted structures topped with whirligigs and Ferris wheels. He began working full-time on his assemblages after the 1985 exhibit “Southern Visionary Folk Artists.” Worried about the approaching millennium, he committing suicide in 1999. His once impressive folk art environment is now gone.

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

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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 Folk Art, A Regional Reference” by Kristin G. Congdon and Kara Kelley Hallmark, ABC-CLIO Publishers, California, 2012.

“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.

“Baking in the Sun, Visionary Images from the South” by Andy Nasisse and  Maude Wahlman, University of Washington Press, exhibit catalog, 1987.

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

“Light of the Spirit : Portraits of Southern Outsider Artists” by Karekin Goekjian and Robert Peacock, University of Mississippi Press, 1998.

“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.

“James Harold Jennings”

At Home Gallery: “James Harold Jennings”