Saturday, March 7, 2015


Our next artist for Lent, the only one not to suffer through a world war, is RUDOLPH VALENTINO BOSTIC. He was born in Savannah, GA in 1941. Rudy Bostic is a self-taught artist known for his vibrantly rendered religious images, usually done in magic marker, acrylic, metallic, and enamel house paint on cardboard, with the occasional flourish of glitter to accent his work. 

 As a young boy, Rudy had few toys and resorted to making his own.  At the age of 17, he was asked to draw some religious paintings to be displayed in the church. Further encouragement came from his uncle, the longtime pastor of the Second African Baptist Church on Green Square in Savannah, who asked Rudy and his brother to make religious pictures for his congregation.

Rudy was working at the Derst Baking Company in Savannah in 1979 when he was inspired to use their discarded cardboard boxes as canvases. When he ran his fingers along its smooth, solid surface, he thought it would make an ideal "canvas" for working with all the odds and ends of house paint he had at home. He worked into the early hours of each morning making his first pictures on cardboard panels laid out on his bed. His working style hasn't changed much over the years, but he has since expanded his color palette and his images have branched out to include heroes of history and myth, fantasy landscapes, and everything from angels and hot air balloons, to mermaids and merry-go-rounds.

“Growing up like most children, I believe we all had our dream world... I loved 'Cowboys and Indians,' which became my introduction to drawing. As I grew older, I lost interest in art until I reached high school. In my later years, I took a closer view of art and realized that few artists today capture the power and the glory of God the way the old masters did. Trying to find a way, I studied their works. I love the design, colors and subjects of the Renaissance artists and the way Rembrandt uses dark and light. Inspired by their work, I try to express my love for God and the world.”

Rudy Bostic belongs to the category of "self-taught" artists. He is deeply religious and his favorite subjects are scenes from the bible.  Occasionally, he branches out into something he has seen on television; circus animals, cowboys, and Paris or Venice.  He has great enthusiasm for his art and loves to share his vision with others.

Rudy is gaining recognition as a talented self-taught artist and is included in the collection of The Mennello Museum of American Folk Art, in Orlando, Florida.

Crucifixion I
This creator in cardboard is a true visionary artist. He seldom works from preparatory sketches and almost never retouches finished pictures, which are usually made in one sitting with the cardboard panel, lying in front of him on his bed. With his imagination so steeped in biblical imagery, Rudy gathers his paint pots and brushes, picks up a cardboard panel, and, as he says, "the images just come to me." 

While his paintings are firmly rooted in an Afro-American tradition of “testimony art," meant to share Black historical experiences and religious beliefs, there is something that reminds us of Eastern Orthodox icons.

"The Crucifixion I" is an excellent example of his style of double painting. Clustered around Christ on the cross, one sees visual references to Jesus as “Lamb of God” and “Lion of Judah,” the Eucharistic symbols of bread and wine, an open Bible - even the Ark of the Covenant.


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