“I feel great bein’ an artist.” —Nellie Mae Rowe

Nellie Mae Rowe

A drawing from a marvelous selection of Outsider and Visionary Art recently on view at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans by Nellie Mae Rowe: a self–taught artist born in Fayetteville, Georgia in 1900. She was always interested in art, but plunged fully into her work after the death of her second husband in 1948.

Her vibrant works express thoughts and emotions through flowers, farm animals, fish, birds, shotgun houses, churches, colorful people and fantasy figures. Using every available surface and a variety of materials, her works are nostalgic, deeply spiritual and full of humor. She believed her work was a gift from the Lord and worked until her death in 1982.

I would take nothin’
and make somethin’ out of it.
Ever since I was a child,
I’ve been that way.

Seems like God gives everybody a talent and I guess makin’ little stuffs is mine.
And people comes from near and far to see my little junks.
Folks like to see them and I like to see folks.

—Nellie Mae Rowe, quoted from Ninety-nine and a Half Won’t Do by Lee Kogan