SC Arts Commission 40th Anniversary
Forty Lists Project
Your favorite South Carolina visual artist
Names of visual artists were submitted by their fans. Don't see your favorite? E-mail Milly Hough to add your suggestion to the list.
Click on the artist's name to read some of the comments submitted with the entries. (Not all entries included comments.)
Artists by county
"Though he was born in Georgia, Jasper Johns grew up in S.C. He is a master artist whose work will continue to intrigue viewers and scholars for years to come."
"I think that Mr. Harrison's work evokes a simpler time in American culture. I am reminded of visits to see my grandparents and the rural areas they lived in."
"Mr. Harrison shows the area around the Bamberg /Denmark/ Orangeburg area, and his use of the old Coke signs depict the environment of this agricultural area of S.C. His work makes you feel as you are there in the photo. I grew up in Bamberg on a dairy farm so know the art work, and it means a lot."
"His work is a perfect rememberance of rual America."
"Mr. Harrison is perhaps the best artist in the state of South Carolina. His paintings bring a feeling of warmth and comfort to those who view them."
"When you look at his art you feel like you are driving the backroads of South Carolina."
"Jim reminds us of a simpler time with his realistic scenes from what we view as a "simpler time" now. His Coca Cola-themed paintings remind me of happy times growing up in Orangeburg sharing cokes with my cousins under grandmother's pecan tree shaded back yard."
"Jim Harrison is my favorite, has been for years. His work takes me back to the old days, the details in his paintings are incredible! If I had more money and room, I would have one every piece Jim has created. The first time I saw his work, I was immediately taken by it all."
"In that I have been married to Jim for nearly 38 years, from the beginning of his career as a full-time artist in 1970, I dare say you haven't got enough room to write all the reasons I am listing his name. I do know the journey Jim has been and continues to be on all of these years. It has been exciting yet very hard fought.His work ethic is one to be admired by anyone understanding this world of art/ or the world of any big business. He is equally good at both. His heart was captured by those signs of times that have passed us by/to him it may just be a moment ago--(we regular folks just don't seem to take the time to notice)so he literally uses his brush or pen to catch that moment in time --as one would catch a firefly. He does this by using his gift of art...the wonderful thing is that he is sharing his gift by making it available for us all to enjoy--and hopefully maybe it adds something to our lives by allowing us to see that old crumbling barn we passed by in the car or that stunning sunset , in the way he sees them."
"Jim Harrison's artwork stirs emotions of a simpler time of life. His paintings make you wish you could jump inside and spend time inside. I feel he would be an excellent choice for this award."
"His artwork, a part of which relives his early commercial work, is truly realistic. The rustics harken back to a time most in my generation remember fondly. His landscapes, mostly of the Carolina Lowcountry, bring one back to scenes we have seen as we have traveled South Carolina."
"His work is stimulating, his topics laud the rural nature of the state, his devotion to home is praiseworthy."
"My husband and I have collected Jim's work for years and years. He has captured the Southern countryside and way of life...he is the best!"
"His art is truly depictive of real life around here in S.C."
"Jim's work isn't only great, but he is preserving history also!!!"
"I love his work. My parents begin collecting his beach prints 30 years ago and they are timeless!"
"I like Jim Harrison's work because it's reminiscent of an era gone by and in today's hectic world, we can only dream and remember, and his paintings help facilitate those rememberings and put a smile on my face."
"Jim's stylistic paintings of rural South Carolina take us back down a nostalgic trip to my childhood."
"His pictures of old barns, Coca-Cola signs, grits mills, and rural America are wonderful. His beach scenes with the waving grasses are wonderful too. They exactly remind me of what Surfside Beach and Garden City used to look like."
"I love Jim Harrison's work. Some of my many favorites are "Fresh Grits", "Feed and Seed", "Baby Ruth" and "Morton Salt". As I admire "Baby Ruth", I often reminisce about my childhood days walking down a similar dirt road barefoot with the sand sifting between my toes. I have recently acquired "Summer Coca Cola" and am looking forward to collecting the other seasons."
"Meeting and talking with Jim is like stepping back in time and getting a cool drink from a flowing well. Jim isn't just an artist, he is a humanitarian. Jim's love for his craft is reflected in his work and the love he has for the old times, and he attempts to save those memories for everyone. No matter who sees his work, they always feel like they know where the place he has painted is. That ability to look into the mind's eye and recreate a snap shot in time is what he does best."
"Jim's photos of the rural areas capture a part of history that is rapidly disappearing. Jim has also done a great deal for his community of Denmark, helping renovate downtown building. And, he's now serving on the new Denmark development group."
"His subjects are parts of South Carolina that are vanishing forever. He is helping to preserve them for future generations to enjoy."
"The reason Jim Harrison is my favorite artist in S.C., and for that matter, the world, .is because he is able to capture what I felt as a child in his paintings. My memories of growing up in a small town in S.C. will never go away. I will never outgrow this. I have several of his prints, and enjoy them in my living room everyday. As Jim himself has suggested, you cannot re-create the past, but he certainly can bring you so close to it by everything he does. Perhaps I am too nostalgic, but I do wish I could relive my childhood, like so many do. Jim finds a way for you to do that and that is a TRUE gift from God."
"I have followed Mr. Harrison's career for 20 years. Much of the large volume of work he has created is of rural and coastal South Carolina. His artistic talents have allowed him to portray S.C.'s rural countryside, beautiful salt-water marshes, coastal beach scenes, and stunning water oaks draped in spanish moss. Living in Charleston, I have the luxury of access to many S.C. artists. Unfortunately, too many of them seem to choose the same subjects for their work. I suppose that makes them commercially viable. Which of them has not offered up their vision of Rainbow Row or Saint Michael's Church? But Jim Harrison paints the S.C. I grew up in. As a South Carolina artist, Jim Harrison is a breath of fresh air."
"I first saw Jim's work when I moved to Barnwell County in 1978, first hearing about him and seeing his art in several homes. I soon learned if you didn't have at least one print hanging in your house, you just didn't belong living in that area of South Carolina. About a year later I realized the fellow sitting on the tailgate of his station wagon on the side of the road about a mile from my house was Jim sketching an old barn up on a hill. I have been in love with his detail as well as his shadowing in all his work. Over the years I got to know Jim personally as a friend and hope he considers me a friend as well. He has donated his time and talent to Denmark and the surrounding area numerous times. He and his wife(she runs his gallery) have donated artwork to more fundraisers than you can count. I have 12 prints and four originals hanging in my house today. I value the least just as much as the most valueable. I have never looked at one and not seen something in it that's a little different the the last time. To finish, I got an original from Jim last month (through some horse traiding)that is of sand dunes, beach, and ocean. Every time I look at it I can step into it and I am there barefooted in the sand. Art doen't get any better than that."
"Jim Harrison brings America's Heartland back to our hearts!"
"I am over 60 years old and have a very stressful job. I have several of Jim's pictures in my office and change them frequently, and they have a very calming effect on me. They take me back to what I believe were the best of times. Life was simpler and more relaxed."
"What a wonderful story teller of the old South though his artwork. Any of us who have visited an old country store and drank a 'nickel coke' cannot help to be taken back to that time with his paintings. Timeless!"
"Her pottery work is functional, beautiful, some is humorous, and all promotes cultural history of our region."
"Beautiful photographic images of the nature available to all in South Carolina."
"I think that his art is uplifting, vibrant, life-giving and encouraging."
"His realistically surreal paintings glow with skill and thoughtfulness."
"Good strong figurative, narrative work."
"Her handmade paper objects are incredible. The Renwick Gallery included her in a craft invitational earlier this year (2007). That alone is evidence of the high quality of her work."
"Though she no longer lives in South Carolina, Ms. Dake had an impact on the Lowcountry's arts community. Her poster for the Piccolo Spoleto Festival was very popular. At the same time, she challenged viewers with art that was not typical "tourist" art."
"He is an outstanding new sculptor that could use some exposure."
"I have always found his art work to be very interesting."
"Mary Edna's work is inventive and captures the beauty of the Lowcountry in a way that is reminiscent of Monet."
"West Fraser is one of the most nationally recognized painters in the state still living. His work is still grounded in his native Lowcountry, however, and celebrates the pride he has in his home."
"Great depictions of the Lowcountry."
"Gwylene is not only a talented visual artist, but she is a phenominal community organizer!"
Yes, he was a visual artist! A portrait of DuBose Heyward that Gershwin painted in 1935 hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. (Ed. note: Heyward was from Charleston.)
"Mr. Hirsch was a pioneer in the late Charleston Renaissance Period who contributed to the growth of interest in the arts through his teaching sculpture techniques, first at the newly formed Gibbes Art Museum School and later in founding with William Halsey and Corrie McCallum the first private "Charleston Art School" for instruction in sculpture, drawing and painting. He continued his artwork completing public, institutional, and private commissions from his busy studio until his death in 1982. Much of Mr. Hirsch's public sculpture is falling into disrepair and is unlabeled. A recent article in the Members Newsletter of The Preservation Society of Charleston by M. McLaughlin titled "In Search of Willard Hirsch" further explores this once prominent S.C. artist."
" ' Come quickly, have found Heaven' is the text of a message that Hutty sent to his wife when he "discovered" Charleston. He was a leading figure in the Charleston Renaissance and a brilliant artist. "
"Her work often is understated, but it is very sophisticated. She is a very talented ceramic artist."
"Nina is a fine artist and a wonderful person. She is a major part of Charleston's arts community."
"Not only does Nina have the best gallery in Charleston, she creates some of the most interesting pottery. Her work gets better every year."
"She is a remarkable ceramist."
"Jean Marie is not only a wonderful visual artist, but an amazing community activist."
"Ms. McCallum has been in the shadow of her late husband, William Halsey, but her work shines. She is an extremely talented artist who has produced an impressive body of beautiful work. She also was a recipient of a Verner Award."
"Her work is beautiful. She deserves more recognition than she has received during her life."
"John Michel is an incredibly gifted artist whose skills as a painter, print maker, and sculptor find few parallels in the state."
"Working in a variety of media and styles, John Michel produces remarkable drawings, prints, paintings and sculptures. His public sculptures can be found at a few sites in Charleston."
"Amazing 96-year-old iron worker."
"Her amazing watercolors and woodblock prints are haunting images of the Lowcountry. The book that she wrote with her father in 1917, "The Dwelling Houses of Charleston, South Carolina," did much to bring attention to Charleston at the beginning of the twentieth century."
"Her vibrant colors and energetic brushstrokes just blow me away!!! I feel fortunate to own a "small" painting of hers!"
"Her color block prints are graphic images of Charleston and the Lowcountry. She had a great command of line and color."
"Michael has passed away, but his work brought international attention both to him and to S.C. He was a kind person and an incredible artist."
"What can one say? South Carolina honors her with the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award every year!"
"Sue's fish prints are elegant."
"Her work is breathtaking. She is not only generous with her time and talents, she also contributes to many communtity activities, including scholarship funds for students."
"A quintessential Southern artist who has moved from representational Southern narratives to abstractions that continue the story. He follows in the tradition of William Halsey."
"Living leading father of contemporary art in Charleston."
"He has worked as an artist in S.C. for more than 35 years and has produced a large body of work ranging from realistic images to abstracts of unique style. He is truly a talented and deserving artist and is especially representative of S.C."
"Mickey's work evokes such emotion along with all the environmental elements that it is truly moving."
"Mickey paints some of the most beautiful landscapes of the S.C. Lowcountry I have ever seen. Magical."
"His work is amazing. I own approximately 12 paintings. My husband has about six or seven at his business. His work is classic and timeless. I bought my first painting in 1992."
"She lives in Virginia, but she grew up on Sullivans Island. Her work is excellent, and she shows in galleries across the country."
"Amazing sculptures and drawings are what one expects from her."
"Her ceramic figures are bizarre and beautiful.
"Most imaginative - able to blend materials - multi-talented - disciplined - able to outdo herself every time!"
"In addition to teaching art workshops for children and adults, she keeps the arts alive through contact with local newspapers about exhibits. In addition, she created the Olde English Art Group. When the CVAA artists lost many of their paintings in a fire at the local gallery several years ago, Vicky started an online gallery:
"This man did such beautiful work!!! Silhouettes ranging from children's profiles to the most delicate scenic work. He was truly a gifted artist and I am proud to call the Lowcountry of South Carolina my home, as it was his!!!"
"Patz Fowle is my favorite visual artist. Her imaginative use of clay is extremely unique. The characters she creates have so much personality that they look as though they could talk back to you (although, I'm not sure what they would say!) I am surprised that a few of her pieces aren't already in the State Art Collection, as Patz Fowle is truly an asset to the arts in S.C."
"Her ceramic work is finely made - often with a sly sense of humor."
"Ike is a 'one of a kind' individual and gives so willingly of his time and talents. He is a wonderful influence on anyone who has ever been around him."
"My favorite visual artist is Jane Jackson from Florence. Her paintings of Florence landmarks are wonderful. Whenever I see her works it is a walk down memory lane. Some of the sites are no longer around and some are still standing. She captures them beautifully on canvas. I especially like the paintings of Florence sites, but I love her paintings that are not about Florence too. I think she is an incredibly talented artist."
"Carl Blair has been a major contributor to the visual arts scene in S.C. since his early teaching years at Bob Jones University in the 1960s. We have lived with one of his major pieces on our wall since that same time. He is a delightful person and a dynamite painter."
"Great artist, exhibited in the finest galleries in America and around the world."
"Great oil pastels and works in other media."
"Ruth is an exceptional artist, well-schooled, generous, and ever in search of new means of expression. When I met her she was a "grandma" many times over. She taught my pre-schooler how to find joy in arranging shapes and colors in stained glass. Always encouraging, guiding, gentle, she has taken generations of Greenwood children under her wing and provided her talents to so many civic organizations and charities. Now my pre-schooler has graduated from seminary, and I wrote to tell him of his art teacher's new adventures in acrylics, encaustics, and abstraction. Ruth is a kaleidoscope for the ever-changing visions of today's artist. She can put up her watercolors (which have won her so very many prizes), prepare a board or a canvas, and create masterful works through techniques at the cusp of the avant garde of the 21st century. She now shares her ever widening artistic horizons with a rapt assemblage in assisted living facilities, sharing her youthful hunger for life and art with some who are, for the first time, anxious to express their spirits in a new way. Ruth Martin embodies the "vita brevis, ars lunga" of the classicist. She may well call forth her own motto: Vita lunga; ars lunga; vita felice. Life is long, art lasts forever, let us enjoy!"
"She has done more to promote the love of the art of painting in Greenwood than any other person. She has taught generations of young people in our community to love art and develop their abilities. She has had one-woman shows of her own paintings that inspire and encourage the community. Currently she is teaching art at Wesley Commons, a community of elderly people. Everyone loves Ruth."
"No one is better at rendering the figure with such pathos."
"Ms. Dugan's more recent experiments with paper mosaics have yielded incredible results, but she is an accomplished artist in many media."
"Alex Powers is well known not only in S.C., but nationally as well. He inspired me years before I met him through his book "Painting People in Watercolor." He is a wonderful artist, teacher, art judge and critic, etc."
"Brian Rutenberg's career has skyrocketed and brought national attention to him and to S.C. His lyrical paintings are beautiful abstractions that have their roots in S.C.'s earth and water."
"The man is a genius."
"90-year-old Gerard Tempest who now lives at Eaglecrest in Myrtle Beach and has paintings in the permanent collections of the Vatican, several other European museums, and Duke University art museum."
"She is a remarkable ceramist."
"Innovative, creative, kind, thoughtful...each of these words describes only part of this remarkable artist."
"Dr. Twiggs combines innovative approaches to traditional techniques and media with a keen eye for design to produce works that challenge the viewer with layered meanings."
"Because I love her work."
"Her work is so unusual. The faces are blank allowing the individual's imagination to make the art personal."
"He has been making incredible ceramics for many years."
"His ceramics are beautiful, elegant examples of what one can do with clay. His metal sculptures were equally strong."
"J. Bardin is deceased; his paintings will live on -- beautiful abstractions that evoke places and feelings. He had a restrospective in Columbia several years ago."
"To me, Jean is the consumate artist. She works in all mediums with perfection and breathes, eats and sleeps art. There is never a time since I've known her that she didn't have a show, a project, or some art form that she is working on.I am very honored to know her."
"Stephen Chesley is not only a great artist but a generous mentor to others."
"Toni has spent her artistic career supporting the arts throughout S.C. as a past president of the S.C. Watercolor Society and as a chair and committee member of various arts organizations' fund raisers. She not only shares her talents through her art work but also promotes the arts community as a whole, which benefits us all!"
"Clark has made a substantial impact on visual arts in the entire state. His contemporary design furniture and lamps are shown across the state and have been purchased as decorative items in many homes. His interior design of commercial and public buildings and restaurants has helped create comfortable environments and increased awareness of contemporary design. In addition, Clark has worked tirelessly as a supporter of visual arts and arts development in Columbia and throughout the state."
"James has made a name for himself making beautiful aluminum mirrors, but it's really his sculpture that I like the best. He uses found materials, metals in particular, and creates the most elegant pieces out of them, usually in the shape of a striking woman. He's able to take a metal chair leg, shovel head, fire pokers and railroad ties and create a fluid, sensual piece that is much more than the sum of its parts."
"In her art she works with the human figure in wonderful ways."
"Her work is challenging and beautiful."
"He's multi-talented...did some work for the State Museum."
"Boyd's body of work speaks for itself, but he also worked tirelessly to develop the printmaking program at USC and mentor art students. Going beyond just teaching, he was an inspirational leader who led by example, never preaching or belittling."
"Scotchie is an inspiring example of a successful and very professional visual artist. Talented, focused, and always pursuing new opportunities!"
"Amy's ceramic sculptures are both sly and sophisticated."
"He is just good and professional."
"Her work inspires, empowers, and delights us!"