Visual Art and Film: The Highwaymen

A new feature film about The Highwaymen – a group of self-taught black artists from central Florida – is currently in production by Stars North. IMBD provides the following film synopsis:
“In the 1960s, a group of young African Americans barely out of high school taught themselves to paint as a way of escaping hard labor in the citrus groves and packinghouses of the segregated, Jim Crow South. With no money for proper supplies, they painted using left-over construction material called Upson board, house paint and frames made from pieces of floor molding and scrap wood. To have enough paintings to sell, they painted quickly, creating a distinctive, colorful style that captured the stormy clouds, windy waves, quiet marshes and deserted beaches of a still undeveloped Florida.
Traveling up and down Central Florida's highways, they hawked their paintings from the backs of cars for around $20 to $40 each. They sold to roadside motels, banks, doctor's offices and tourists, producing over 200,000 pieces. Because of their "outsider" status, they never received the recognition and respect from the arts community they deserved, but always yearned to be called "artists."
Their long journey to cultural respect began in the early 1990s when a curator and art journalist discovered their work in flea markets, antique shops and garage sales. Upon learning how their art was originally produced and sold, he named them "The Highwaymen."
The Highwaymen initially painted to escape poverty, and today their art adorns the walls of respected museums, governor mansions...and even the White House. Collectors now pay in excess of $30,000 for these cherished works. Over the past 50 years, and after the ravages and fortune of friendships, jealousy, murder, hope and triumph, The Highwaymen have become an integral part of art history and examples of the American dream.”
Several St. Augustine galleries feature paintings by Highwaymen.  Visit The Lost Gallery and A Step Back in Time Antiques to view (and purchase!) the work of these important Florida artists.
 

Post Date

June 3, 2020