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Albert DeBrabander - Lenexa, Kansas - 1934-2015

Metal Environment

Albert "Bert" DeBrabander worked for 35 years pouring concrete as a basement contractor in the Kansas City area. In retirement, he found himself "needing something to do in the winter time." It most certainly was not sculpting in concrete, so he picked up a welding torch and began looking for interesting pieces of old implement scrap metal. He started planting metal figures and assorted items on his rural acreage near Lenexa. While hunting near Russell, Bert decided to purchase the old Boot Hill Cafe's 15-foot fiberglass cowboy boot and the postrock limestone signage. This boot has become the identifying trademark of this metal cowboy-and-Indian themed environment. One day he put a couple of cowboy boots stuffed with artificial flowers on his property fence line and soon neighbors and people driving by began to leave their boots for his artistic endeavor.

 

Florence Deeble - Lucas, Kansas - 1900-1999

Historic Florence Deeble Rock garden

Florence Deeble was a child watching with curiosity when S.P. Dinsmoor was constructing his Garden of Eden in Lucas. When she retired after a career as a high school English and history teacher, she began constructing her own grassroots environment of colored concrete scenes around her home. First prompted by her mother's insistence that she fill in a garden fish pond to prevent anyone drowning in it, Miss Deeble began to create concrete "postcards" of holiday sites she had enjoyed. Even after she was no longer able to do the cement work herself, she devoted herself to celebrating the early history of Lucas, balancing her earlier model of Mt. Rushmore with a work honoring four Lucas notables. Her rock garden is listed on the Kansas and National Registers of Historic Places.

 

Jim Dickerman - Beverly, Kansas

Folk Art - Metal, Feathers & Bones

For over 25 years Jim Dickerman has been combining scrap metal and parts from cars, trucks, tractors, bikes, and field equipment with skulls, bones, driftwood, antlers, feathers, and just about anything else to create his magical creatures. He sees himself as rather passive in this process, letting the pieces he finds decide what kind of creature they want to be. Since 2000, Jim, who lives in Lincoln County, has been creating his Open Range Zoo along Highway K-18. He asked friends and land owners if it would be okay to exhibit his metal/bone creations in their pastures, on top of billboards and in all sorts of unexpected places, creating a visual surprise around every bend along this two-lane road.

Samuel Perry Dinsmoor - Lucas, Kansas - 1843-1932

Garden of Eden

Starting in 1905 at the age of 62, Samual Perry Dinsmoor began creating his Garden of Eden in Lucas. After building a limestone log cabin and mausoleum with dove-tailed corners, he then spent the next few decades creating his concrete sculptural elements of religious figures and depictions of society at the time. His yard environment is one of the top 10 visionary art environments in the US.

Pull Tab Art

Herman Divers - Topeka, Kansas - 1923-2013

Those who saw the original KCPT "Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations" remember Topeka's Herman Divers and his astonishing pull-tab creations. The full-size motocycle was created out of 179,200 pull-tabs. The pull-tabs are those available on beverage cans in the 1970s. Each can tab had an extension on it that could be wrapped and bent to secure to the next tab. There is no glue or reinforcement iron in these silver artistic wonders of Divers' imagination. The Grassroots Art Center has on display a car, motorcycle, table, chair, lamp, umbrella, and clothing. When he ran out of pull tabs, he worked in buttons, artfully covering and creating objects such as vases, horses, motorcycles, and dolls.

 

Dolls - Mosiac Sculptures

LeAnne Doljac - Stillwell, Kansas

Schooled and trained as an engineer, LeAnne Doljac decided using her design skills to make art is where her heart is. LeAnne has created art from a junkyard car and pickup roofs and hoods. She is an avid mosaic artist and an intricate sculpture "The Splash" resides outside the front door at the Grassroots Art Center. Doljac creates sculptures out of assembled objects including dolls and antiques. She created "Monkey Bird Park" on her land in Stilwell, which displays mosaic dogs and other animals roaming in a natural area. Her art is developed out of an exploration of childhood and life experiences.

Dinosaur Environment

Robert Dorris - Erie, Kansas - 1925-2007

Ever want to roam the land at the time of dinosaurs? Inspired by the dinosaur displays at the Smithsonian Museum, Robert Dorris, a former builder of airplanes, created his "Detroit" dinosaur from car parts and scrap metal. It is 10-feet high and 16-feet long. He also made numerous smaller ones. The collection was donated to the city of Erie where a park is set up for viewing his creations.

Grogan Ebberts - Emporia, Kansas - 1930-2009

Metal Sculpture

Ever want to roam the land at the time of dinosaurs? Inspired by the dinosaur displays at the Smithsonian Museum, Robert Dorris, a former builder of airplanes, created his "Detroit" dinosaur from car parts and scrap metal. It is 10-feet high and 16-feet long. He also made numerous smaller ones. The collection was donated to the city of Erie where a park is set up for viewing his creations.

 

Yard Environment

Ed Engling - Natoma, Kansas - 1931-2017

Ed Engling's yard is a visual delight, from small pig heads made out of Model T oil pans with feet of cast iron bathtub legs, to an art car that is completely covered with license plates, horns, and other signage, which he drove in many area parades. His environment evolved over many years. He made his "Osborne County Choppers" from a combination of push lawn mowers and bicycles. He was an oil field worker for most of his life. Ever want to ride a motorcycle that is as big in scale as a full size car? It was possible at Engling's yard in Natoma.

Janet Erbe - Altoona, Kansas

German Folk Art

Janet Erbe always loved art class and admires folk artist Anne Childs. She began to teach herself old-time techniques in art such as German Fraktur lettering, hornbooks - wooden paddles with letters and numbers for children's learning - and ink drawings on leather book covers. Erbe's entire Altoona home is a walk back into a 19th-century environment. She paints old-time scenes on old materials such as ledger sheets from the late 1800s. She calls herself a "folk artist' and loves all things old and primitive. She also loves cloudy days.

Carlos Espinosa - Salina, Kansas

Scale Replicas in Miniature

Creativity resides in the soul of Carlos Espinosa. Even as a child in Mexico, he created miniature wooden houses and models on the family patio. The ideas for model vehicles float into his mind and then become reality. His work is highly detailed and to scale. He has always had an affinity for miniatures and space flight. Combine those two passions and he has created hundreds of accurately designed miniature space vehicles. This is a man who sees a semi trailer carrying something unusual and goes home to recreate it in miniature. His complex railroad scene is complete with a thunderstorm and burning house. He spent 500 hours creating the "Maverick Twinjet 1500," his roadworthy car/airplane from a wrecked Ford Fiesta and a recycled washing machine. He researched the wind farms between Wilson and Brookville and then created an entire scene of the turbines being hauled to site and installed.

 

Tom "Dr. Evermor"Every - Baraboo, Wisconsin - 1939-2020

Forevertron

Known worldwide for his imaginative scrap metal sculptures, Tom Every was a vital part of the art community in Sauk County, Wisconsin. Every was a former demolition contractor who spent decades collecting antique machinery. His mythical Forevertron ranged in size from a half-block by a half-block, and was invented by his mythical character, "Dr. Evermor." According to Every, Dr. Evermor is a Victorian inventor who designed the Forevertron to launch himself "into the heavens on a magnetic lightning force beam." The entire rural environment covered several acres. A musical bird band made of cast-off band and orchestra instruments was a highlight. The Queen of England was going to be invited to see him launched into space.

Vi Fick - Oakley, Kansas - 

Fossils & Shells

Vi Fick, co-founder of the Fick Fossil & History Museum at Oakley, KS was a farm wife and an eccentric artist who used many mediums for her art. These included locally found fossils, fish bones, shells, sharks' teeth, oil paint, and crayon wax resulting in unique, three-dimensional artwork. Fick loved roaming the hills around their farm to gather working materials for her art projects. Unusual, intricate, detailed, colorful and varied subject matter best describes her art.

Janet Fish - Madison, Kansas

Dolls/Paintings

Janet Fish makes dolls from intuition.  No patterns.  "Every single doll I make is one of a kind.  I couldn't reproduce most of them if I tried."  She considers her creations to be a comedy of errors, intuitive visions, serendipitous opportunities to create. Ms. Fish is also a painter with her favorite character Raggedy Ann.