Howard Finster was born Dec. 2, 1916 in Alabama and died Oct. 22, 2001 in Summerville, Georgia.
Finster was inspired in early childhood by religious visions. As an adult, he proclaimed himself to be a preacher but was frustrated that his congregation didn’t seem to remember his sermons. One day he saw a bit of paint on his finger in the form of a face. The face told him to paint “sacred art.” He began to make images covered by bible verses, and decided he had found an effective way to spread the word of God.
Finster became known when he was commissioned by REM and later by the Talking Heads to design album covers. His fantastical environment in Summerville, Georgia, Paradise Garden’s, was constructed on four acres from trash found on the site. It was his most impressive work. The High Museum
in Atlanta has preserved large segments of it in their permanent collection. Howard Finster is possibly the best known American self-taught artist.