The Land of Pasaquan – Eddie Owens Martin (St EOM)

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Land of Pasaquan – Eddie Owens Martin (St. EOM)

Eddie Martin Road (PO Box 5530), Route 78
Buena Vista, GA
229-649-9444
http://www.pasaquan.com
Sculpture environment

Eddie Owens Martin led what was perhaps one of the strangest lives we’ve come across on our journeys. In the 1930s, after years of living on the streets of New York, he came down with a severe case of pneumonia. He claims he died and a bearded giant appeared before him, giving him his vision for what it would become – The Land of Pasaquan. Eddie renamed himself St. EOM, and began reshaping the family farm in rural Georgia Into a cross-cultural complex complete with images of concrete snakes and giants with kaleidoscopic patterns painted in Day-Glo hues.

Eddie Owens Martin was born at the stroke of midnight July 4, 1908. His father was a Southwest Georgia dirt farmer, an uneducated sharecropper whose only apparent interest in his son was as a farm laborer who could toil without payment in producing the annual cotton crop. Eddie, however, was “different” from the other five children in the family. Secretly assisted by his mother, he learned to read. He soon contemplated an existence far beyond that of the backbreaking day labor in the fields of Marion County. At fourteen, following an incident during which his father cruelly killed a puppy that Eddie had received as a gift from a neighboring black family, he left home. After wandering around Georgia and Florida for several months as an itinerant fruit picker, young Eddie drifted north. He eventually found New York City, where he stayed until the mid-1950s.

In New York, Eddie Martin’s creative individualism developed beyond that which could scarcely have been imagined by the young farm boy in Georgia. He quickly became a savvy street character in Greenwich Village. He connected with the city’s provocative underground culture and the struggling artists, the musicians, the poets, the beggars and bums of lower Manhattan all became members of his newly found family. For more than thirty years he survived in New York, employing whatever means were necessary to get by. He often worked as a fortune teller in Manhattan tea rooms, and he prepared and sold meals of soul food to other displaced Southerners. The New York art scene fed his expanding flamboyant personality and fired his artistic spirit. All the while he was a habitual visitor to the city’s museums, libraries, studios, and art galleries. He absorbed New York hip culture like a colorful sponge.

At a time in the late 1930s, during an extended and fever-ridden illness, Martin experienced the first of a series of phenomenal visions that would prompt and continue to drive his artistic efforts for the rest of his life. In the initial vision, he was confronted by a trio of extraordinarily tall personages who identified themselves as people of the future — special envoys from a vaporous land called Pasaquan, a place where the past, the present, the future, and everything else all come together.” He had been chosen by them, he later reported, to delineate an understanding of the peace and beauty that the future might hold for mankind, if mankind would take heed. On that day, Eddie Owens Martin of Marion County, Georgia, became St. EOM — the one and only Pasaquoyan of the Twentieth Century.

The empowered visitors in his vision offered him extensive instructions on how to ritually prepare for the proper conduct of his personal daily existence. They revealed how he was to communicate with and receive cosmic instruction from the energies of the universe, and how to follow a course that would enable him to artfully render the futuristic world of Pasaquan in paint and pen, metal and concrete. The most compelling instruction that he received from them was this: To “return to Georgia and do something.” That is precisely what he did — for over thirty years.

The result is St. EOM’s PASAQUAN.

Preservation of this environment is handled by The Pasaquan Preservation Society, P.O. Box 553, Buena Vista, GA 31803, (229) 649-9444. Varying levels of membership are available. Much of this post was excerpted from their website.

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Photos courtesy of Larry Harris

Bibliography

“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.

“Rare Visions & Roadside Revelations” (the book), by Randy Mason, Michael Murphy and Don Mayberger, Kansas City Star Publishing, 2002.

“Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations Coast to Coast Travel-o-Pedia” by Randy Mason, et. al., Kansas City Star Books, 2009.

On DVD – Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations, “Southern Flavor”, KCPT, Kansas City Public Television, 1999-2001.

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

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

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

“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.

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

“Raw Creation: Outsider Art and Beyond” by John Maizels, Phaidon Press; New Ed edition, 1996, 2000.

“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.