Minnie Evans was a self-taught artist from North Carolina who lived from 1892 to 1897. She is considered one of America’s most important visionary artists. Her artwork was inspired by her dreams and spirituality. She began creating her vividly detailed artworks at the age of 43 after hearing a voice in a dream ask her: “Why don’t you draw or die?”
She drew inspiration not only from the divine, but also from the flowers at the Airlie Gardens where she worked as a gatekeeper. She began selling her work at the gardens, and eventually went on to have a show at the St. John’s Museum (now known as Cameron Art Museum) in Wilmington, which led to several other shows including an exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York.
Evans used a variety of media including crayons, wax, oil, and graphite. She worked on paper, and she also recycled items such as book covers and window shades to create her surfaces. Evans created over 400 artworks in her lifetime. In 2004, artist Virginia Wright-Frierson collaborated with several artists to create the Minnie Evans Bottle Chapel at Airlie Gardens as a tribute to the life and work of Minnie Evans.
Below are a few links to more info on Minnie Evans:
Painting Dreams by Mary E. Lyons (book)
Minnie Evans at the Anthony Art Petullo Collection
Minnie Evans biography from Airlie Gardens
Minnie Evans lesson plan for educators
The Angel That Stands By Me (documentary)
Art project for kids (video)
Image credits (top to bottom):
#1 Top Left/ Minnie Evans, The Tree of Life, 1962, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; Top Right/ Minnie Evans, Day and Night, 1962, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC. #2 Minnie Evans, Untitled, n.d., mixed media on canvas board, 18.50 x 23 in. #3 Minnie Evans, Floral Design. c. 1965, oil and paint on paper, 9 x 12 in. Please note that all images are copyright © of the individual artists or organization and used on this blog for educational purposes. Selling, printing, or repurposing artwork without an artist’s permission is not nice or permitted.