Sunday, February 19, 2012

Funky Fun

Now I ask you - does this look like a hotbed of funky outsider art?
 If asked where one might find an old ambulance converted into a cosmic Airbus complete with search lights made from repurposed Electrolux vaccuum cleaners, would you send them here?
Life is full of surprises.  North Carolina on a sunny February Saturday held one of them.  The Fearrington House, a Relais and Chateaux member since 1988, is one of the nation's premier destinations for innovative farm-to-fork cuisine and award-winning accomodations.
It is all that, of course.
  But yesterday they decided to throw some artistic red pepper into the stew, and they hit a home run.
Sam "The Dot Man" McMillan was just one of the featured artists at the Tenth Annual Fearrington Folk Art Show, held in the big barn adjacent to the inn in the heart of Fearrington Village, a beautiful community just south of Chapel Hill.
The show highlights Outsider Art.  Think of it as traditional folk art with a few extra missing teeth.  Orthodontic imperfection notwithstanding, this genre of artistic expression has always called my name, and, happily, I am not alone.
Inside the barn, dozens of artists from all over the region displayed their work for sale.  This is the beautiful work of artist Danny Doughty, below.

"Missionary Mary Proctor", one of the happiest souls in the place, shares a nice dose of The Good News as she talks about her work.
Her creations and her message are so infectious, I wanted to buy her whole booth!
Tim and Lisa Kluttz have long been favorites of my daughter, who has collected their work for years.  Their strong sense of color and their whimsical interpretation of animals is one of the hallmarks of their work, and I love everything that they do.

Artist Theresa Gloster included the words to an old gospel song into the image of the yellow house just to her left in the picture below.  I asked if she knew the tune, and she sang the song for me!  I jumped in on the chorus.  If my tambourine had been along, we could have "had church" right there on the spot.
 Fearrington House was beautiful - even in the midst of a Carolina winter afternoon.

Meanwhile, "The Dot Man" held court in the barn,
and outside, artist Robert Seven, aka The Great Archemephelon,
  had parked his car.
He travels the universe in this flying machine, which knew a former life as an ambulance.  He even pays homage to this fact in one of the labels on the side, which touts his work as "Emerge-N-See Art".
  I was especially drawn to the flame-shooting Electrolux "lights" on top.
  R7, as he sometimes signs his name, was probably one of the inspirations for the movie Men in Black.  I'm pretty sure he isn't "from around here", as we say.

He thoughtfully provides a dummy-board, hinged to the side of his airship for the creative fun of occasional passers-by.  That was my grandson, Miller, smiling for the camera!

Dinner would have been nice...

but we settled instead for a nice plate of North Carolina barbecue on the way home - which could hardly be called "settling" - since North Carolina barbecue is the stuff of legend all by itself.  At day's end, we drifted off to sleep smelling of hickory smoke and dreamed of sailing off to Venus in the fantastic flying machine of The Great Archemephelon. 

 All told, not a bad day to be us.

For more information on Fearrington, please visit them at

1 comment:

  1. If this art doesn't make a person smile, something's wrong!

    :-) Diane