Howard Finster

Howard Finster (December 2, 1916 – October 22, 2001) was an American artist and Baptist reverend from Georgia. He claimed to be inspired by God to spread the gospel through the environment of Paradise Garden and over 46,000 pieces of art. His creations overlap folk art, outsider art, naïve art, and visionary art. Finster first came to widespread notice in the 1980s with his album cover designs for bands such as R.E.M. and Talking Heads. Finster was born at Valley Head, Alabama and lived on the family farm as one of 13 children. He attended school from age six into the sixth grade. He said he had his first vision at three years old, when he saw his recently deceased sister Abbie Rose walking down out of the sky wearing a white gown. She told him, "Howard, you're gonna be a man of visions." He became "born again" at a Baptist revival at the age of 13 and began to preach at 16. He gave the occasional sermon at local churches and wrote articles for the town newspaper, and became a full-time pastor at Rock Bridge Baptist Church in 1940. He later served at the Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Fort Payne, Alabama, shortly before venturing into full-time art.

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