Willie White (1910 - 2001)

Willie White created another world in his paintings, one inhabited by birds, dinosaurs, and prehistoric creatures. He drew his inspiration from his dreams and from what he saw on television. Born on a farm in Natchez, Mississippi, White attended school through the third grade. At age nineteen, he left his home for a job repairing and securing the levee along the Mississippi River. White moved to New Orleans and worked as a waiter for nearly twenty years and was also employed as a janitor and sign painter in the 1950s and 1960s. Observing the artists in the French Quarter sparked his interest and White began painting and decorating the exterior of his home with his own creations. Familiar images in his work include churches, crosses, airplanes, fruits, and flowers. In the 1960s White began to work almost exclusively with felt markers on poster board, developing a unique and recognizable style. His past experience as a sign painter is evident in his own compositions that are brightly colored and boldly patterned. His work is widely collected and was included in “Passionate Visions of the American South,” organized by the New Orleans Museum of Art in 1993.

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Untitled (Birds and Crosses), 1987

Marker on poster board, 22" x 28"

 

Untitled (Green Birds), 1988

Marker on poster board, 22" x 28"