UFOs and folk art go together for Florida artist, Kurt Zimmerman

Kurt Zimmerman

1925 —
Cocoa, FL
Painting (oil or water-based)

Born in Germany in 1925, Kurt Zimmerman immigrated at the age of four with his parents to Schenectady, New York. After high school, he was drafted into the Army and sent overseas to fight during World War II. As an American, he performed missions over his native Germany. Zimmerman became deeply conflicted over his allegiance to both the United States and Germany and his participation in the war. During this time, he explains, “his whole world changed,” he had difficulty coping, and his first marriage eventually fell apart.

He returned to the United States and moved to Florida where he worked on the Apollo project at the Space Coast. Although he had painted before, he began again with more intensity. Making art gives him a sense of peace.

Many of Zimmerman’s paintings depict flying animals. Sometimes he finds inspiration in road kill, remarking that “most people don’t see the carnage on the road.” He feels that he can make a contribution to the world by giving these animals meaningful memorials. He does this by painting them flying, healed, full of energy, and in a transformed state.

He also paints UFOs based on an experience he had seeing one. He describes witnessing the event as “intensified light. Then it got small. It was very peaceful.” His bright colors and fluid brush strokes all contribute to his ideas of flying, of movement, and of transcendence.

(Photos courtesy of Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations)

Bibliography & Links:

“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, “Peaches, Beaches, Gators and Grits,” KCPT, Kansas City Public Television, 2005.

“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.

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

“Extraordinary Interpretations: Florida’s Self-taught Artists” by Gary Monroe, 2003

“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.

Home Page