Collection: Lorenzo Scott

Folk artist, Lorenzo Scott was born on July 23, 1934, in the small mill village and railroad hub of West Point, Georgia. When his mother, who worked in the fields supplying cotton to the local mills, lost her job during the Depression, the family moved to Atlanta, GA in search of work. One of eleven children, Mr. Scott tells of a time in his youth when he first saw his mother make a sketch, and knew even at an early age that he wanted to be able to draw like that. In his youth, Lorenzo's family lived across the street from a Southern Baptist church where they were active members. Here the young Lorenzo developed the lifelong devout Christian faith that underpins both his art and his life. He often tells stories of extraordinary events that have occurred in his life which stem from his strong faith. In one such story, he reflects on a time when as a child he would observe the comings and goings of churchgoers across the street, and how after observing a funeral gathering at the church, he asked his mother "how come people had to die." He thought if he stayed awake, he wouldn't die, so one night he got his mom to let him stay up all night.

As a young man, Scott worked as a house painter and in construction, and did not make his first oil painting until the age of twenty-five. It was another twenty years, after he visited New York in 1968 and discovered the paintings of the old masters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, before he was recognized as a serious artist. So enamored with the paintings of the Renaissance Italian artists, Scott spent hours by himself studying their techniques and style, pouring over the images he found both in books, and in the museums, then experimenting with oil glazing, composition, and learning how to balance color and contrast.

Revelations: Visionary Content in the Work of Southern Self-Trained Artists at the Atlanta College of Art in 1986 was the first exhibition in which Mr. Scott's work was included. The first one-man show of his work at a national museum was at the Springfield Museum of Art in Ohio in 1993 (An Unexpected Orthodoxy: The Paintings of Lorenzo Scott). Mr. Scott's work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, The High Museum of Art, and the Museum of American Folk Art. He received the Folk Art Society of America's Award of Distinction in 2002, which named him a "Modern Renaissance Painter of Folk Art.