Friday, February 29, 2008

Masterpiece Folk Art Made From Junk.

In 1950, a quiet janitor named James Hampton rented an unheated dump of a garage in Washington DC because he was "working on something" and needed a larger space than his room in a nearby boarding house.

Every night after finishing his job, the small, soft-spoken man would work in the garage for five or six hours. Hampton believed that God visited him there regularly to guide him in his project, The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millenium General Assembly. Adding to the sheer wow factor of the 180 glittering object was how Hampton did it:

An ingenious selection and use of materials and an innate feeling for design characterize Hampton’s radiant work. A poor man, he applied his imagination to the transformation of discarded materials. Merchants in the used-furniture district near the garage remember that Hampton would browse, inquire about prices, and sometimes return with a child’s wagon to carry away his purchases.

All of the objects are covered with different grades of gold and aluminum foils removed from store displays, bottles, cigarette boxes, and rolls of kitchen foil. Hampton paid neighborhood indigents for the foil on their wine bottles, and he walked the streets with a croker sack in which to carry his finds. He also gathered used light bulbs, cardboard,
insulation board, construction paper, desk blotters, and sheets of transparent plastic, probably from the trash of the government buildings where he worked.

Hampton’s masterpiece is now on display in the Smithsonian:
Link - via Officially Awesome, thanks Kellie Bartlett (that was definitely, *officially* awesome!)