United States (1916 - 2001)
Reverend Howard Finster was an artist, poet, musician, sculptor, and preacher who created over 46,000 individually numbered works of art during his lifetime. Born in 1916, in Valley Head, Alabama, Finster was one of thirteen children and was raised in the Baptist church, the cultural environment that would inspire his life and work.
Finster remembered being called to preach in 1931 when he was only 15 years old and remained a preacher until his death. In 1937, Finster moved to Chattooga County with his young wife Pauline and their first child. He worked in various cotton mills, and pastored at churches and revivals to make a living. In 1961, the Finsters moved to Pennville, Georgia where Howard worked as a bicycle and small engine repairman. In the early 1960s, Finster also began working on the Plant Farm Museum, an environment constructed behind his home that was intended to contain “every man-made item” and was composed of buildings, concrete sculptures, waterways, biblical signs, paintings, towers constructed from bicycle frames, and even an “unknown body.” In 1975, Esquire magazine referred to Finster’s environment as Paradise Garden, and the artist willingly adopted the name.