WILLIE MASSEY Willie Massey Main < BACK

Willie Massey was born in 1910 in Brown, Kentucky (near Bowling Green) and was an African American artists who made wonderful birdhouses inhabited by wingless birds, as well as fanciful paintings of animals.

Massey worked on a farm owned by Willie Bohanon for nearly seventy years, from the age of eighteen until 1985. He started making art shortly after his wife?s death in 1955. First it was to keep him busy; then it became a way of life. After his rheumatism worsened in 1984 he gave up farm work as well as most of his social activity and increased his artistic activity.

He worked in wood and paint and constructed whimsical and delightful birdhouses occupied by small wingless birds, and he painted animals that closely resemble alligators, monkeys and lions but that have human or otherworldly characteristics that give them a surreal appearance. For his paintings Massey bought pre stretched canvas and painted on the verso side. The stretcher thus became a frame that the artist painted colorfully. He collaged aluminum foil and buttons onto the canvases.



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