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Mary Proctor

(1960– )

Mary Proctor

Mary Proctor's store, Noah's Ark Antiques, in Tallahassee, Florida is a wood cottage where you can still buy used phonograph records and faded photos. Her yard is a labyrinth of clutter, surrounded by a chain-link fence. She lives with her husband and four children in a mobile home behind the store. Mary Proctor began painting on doors in 1995, after her aunt and two other family members were killed, trapped inside their burning house trailer. Firefighters failed in all attempts to pry open the swelled metal doors. Mary says that God then spoke to her, telling her to "paint onto the doors." Renaming herself, "Prophet Mary Proctor," Mary's doors are covered with her spiritual teachings and observances of righteous behavior garnered from everyday life and, especially, from her wise Grandma. Her doors range from cabinet size to large double garage doors on which Mary typically uses paint and a collage of buttons, cloth, and found objects. Mary likes to think of herself as a missionary rather than an artist. "I'm just a messenger and they (the people who collect her work) are the deliverers."

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