The following is a brief listing of some of AVAM's visionary artists from our permanent collection. We are working to eventually add bios and photos for all our permanent collection artists in the future. There are many more artists and works on display at the museum, and we encourage you to visit us and explore these visionaries' creations & discover their inspiring stories.
- Deborah Berger
Berger learned to knit while still a young child, and was soon a knitting prodigy. Before she was ten, she was able to create not only all her own clothing, but toys, games, and complex sculptural forms from yarn.
- Calvin & Ruby Black
Calvin and Ruby Black began building the Possum Trot Shop and Fantasy Doll Show in 1954 as an attraction to lure tourists off the main highways and to their small rock shop in Possum Trot, California, in the Mojave Desert. Possum Trot fast became the couple's artistic obsession.
- Hawkins Bolden
At age seven, Bolden suffered a severe blow to the head from a baseball accident that resulted in the loss of his eyesight, which he never regained. Despite this disability, he made visual/tactile art for most of his life. "I make them so they can see good: two eyes here, and one way up on top of the head. The third eye sees a whole lot, you know." –Hawkins Bolden
- Nek Chand
Nek Chand's Rock Garden is now the world's largest visionary environment, with several thousand sculptures spanning more than 25-acres, and is one of the largest tourist attractions in India with over 5,000 visitors a day (second only to the Taj Mahal).
- Loring Cornish
A native of the Druid Hill Park neighborhood in Baltimore City, Loring Cornish's row home serves as both gallery to his artwork and a floor-to-ceiling, indoor and outdoor, work of art.
- Noche Crist
Romanian born, Noche Crist was raised by a frail mother, Juliet, and by her eccentric aunt, Mamoutz. It was Mamoutz's husband who encouraged young Noche to paint and to write, and she would remain self-taught and fiercely original the whole of the rest of her long life.
- J.J. Cromer
Cromer's drawings & detailed paintings are inspired and expressive of his concern with current issues, such as war, racism, science and technology, freedom of expression, class inequities, and environmentalism.
- Paul Darmafall "The Baltimore Glassman"
In the mid 1970's, inspired at first by our Nation's Bicentennial, Darmafall began creating paintings using colored glass, house paint, glitter, glue, and found objects. Darmafall's work conveys his strong beliefs about independence, liberty, history, self-sufficiency, the importance of fresh air and the evils of electricity, taxes, and air conditioning.
- Emily Duffy
Emily Kate Chapman Duffy was born in Philadelphia, PA, in 1957 and has lived in California since the age of five. Duffy is the creator of the Bra Ball, and also the director of the San Francisco Bay Area's ArtCar Fest.
- Axel Erlandson
Axel Erlandson was born in 1884, the son of Swedish immigrants. A farmer by trade, he was inspired to begin sculpting trees after observing a natural graft between two sycamores. Axel began to shape trees, planting them in patterns, then pruning, grafting and bending them.
- Howard Finster
Finster's works deal with several large themes—history, biography, autobiography, divine power, worldly calamity, human sinfulness, spiritual salvation, steadfast faith, heavenly reward, and extraterrestrial life.
- Ted Gordon
"These doodles are my only legacy . . . each face is mine at the moment of execution, a tentative installment of one interminable self-portrait." –Ted Gordon
- Grace Bashara Greene
In her solitude Grace began to create intricate artistic assemblages. By the 1990's, Grace's home had become a favorite spot in the popular annual Houston Orange Show Eyeopener's Tour. Her home was described as "a memory box, filled to the brink with her creations. Carefully cut and pasted fabrics, trays and spiraling shelves . . . a tribute to the enduring memories and experiences of her life as a woman who is both a mother and an artist."
- Gerald Hawkes
"Each matchstick represents a human being. My work shows the beauty and strength of what can happen when people work together." –Gerald Hawkes