Clarence Tippin - Peabody, Kansas - 1929-2010
Clarance Tippin began his artistic career in 1972 after retiring from his Wichita building inspector job. he began stone carvings and then moved to sandpaintings, which have their roots in Navajo healing ceremonies. The sandpainting is done in a careful and sacred manner, according to the ancient knowledge of the art. Clarence would take 2-3 hours to come up with a vision. The paintings were made with fine brushes, glue and sand.
Marvin Udelhofen - Springfield, Missouri - 1939-2012
Marvin Udelhofen loved to ride his motorcycle and traveled many miles all across the USA on his cycle. He was a lathe worker for many years and later in life was self-employed renovating houses. He was an avid craftsman in woodworking and carpentry.
Paul Veerkamp - Lawrence, Kansas - 1951-2014
Paul Veerkamp collected every type of ball that you can think of - fuzzy, talking, sports, exercise, honorary, pool, golf, disco. When asked if it was an obsession, Paul replied "It's not an obsession, it's a focus." A highly spiritual man, he enjoyed the color, form, size, and motion of 5000 balls which were always pleasing and never tiring to him. They were indoors and outdoors at his residence in Lawrence.
Harvey Walz - St. Francis, Kansas
Welded Metal Yard Sculptures
Found in his hometown of St. Francis, Harvey Walz yard sculptures were made of wheels, augers and barrels.
Paint Brushes, Caps - "Mr. Imagination"
Gregory Warmack - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania - 1948-2012
Gregory Warmack, better known as "Mr. Imagination" was an American outsider artist. He worked in a variety of forms and his work often made use of sandstone and bottlecaps. An inveterate collector of rocks, beads, trinkets, and myriad cast-off objects, Warmack started making and selling jewelry in his late teens. He also carved bits of bark, wood, and stone into faces that strangely resembled African tribal masks or Egyptian kings. In 1978, a week after having a premonition that someone was going to kill him, Warmack was shot twice while selling his handmade jewelry on the street. During the doctors' attempt to save Gregory's life, he had an "out of body" experience that changed him forever. Reflecting that change, he renamed himself "Mr. Imagination." Mr. I (eye) began using new and different types of recycled materials in his art, most notably the bottle caps he is still best known for today. He also lived and created art in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, but after eight years and a house fire in which he lost the majority of his work and his beloved pets, Mr. Imagination started anew in Atlanta where he worked to establish a haven for other visionary artists.
Don Weber - Victoria, Kansas
Red/White Yard Environment
During the 1990s Don Weber starting creating his red and white yard environment around his home in the west side of Victoria. He gladly offered a tour to anyone who would stop to enjoy his creations. He said, "I had a drinking problem, but now this making yard art keeps me busy."
Harvey Wenger - Sabetha, Kansas -1927-2016
Harvey Wenger worked as a welder for 44 years. He used those skills and his creative visions to create sculptures and paintings. His family said he was a dreamer with a boundless imagination. He used a variety of mediums including scrap metal, wood, telephone insulators, and natural materials like rocks for his rock garden artwork in his yard. He also created large oil paintings. Each piece of artwork was conceived in his imagination, noted with beginning and completion dates, and sketched in detail with materials and dimensions in a notebook. These designs were then copied and mailed to himself, He would receive the postmarked letter and leave it unopened as verification this was his original design. it was considered a type of copyright certification.
Ernest "Ernie" White - Westmoreland, Kansas - 1916-2019
Metal Oxen & Wagon
Ernie White and his wife were "rut nuts" - people who study and follow the Oregon Trail ruts and belong to the Oregon Trail Association. Ernie was commissioned to create two large oxen for his county historical society. He had raised Holstein calves, so he had opportunities to "feel, carry, and chase them". The oxen were created from steel rods wrapped in 12-gauge wire. He created detail by melting the wire during welding. The blue color of his sculptures comes from the 600-degree temperature of the acetylene torch.
William "Pat" Wigley - Blue Springs, Missouri
Flatware/Utility Wire Sculptures
Silverware and utility wire seem unlikely mediums to be used to create sculpture but in steps Pat Wigley of Blue Springs, Missouri. He worked for a utility company installing wire cableing. There were lots of scraps ends being wasted and thrown away, thus the idea sprang forth that he should be creating something out of the waste. Wigley said the silverware sculpture just happened and the Grassroots Art Center is delighted to have several pieces in our permanent collection.
Ed Wilson - Abilene, Kansas - 1927-2019
Metal Wrench Environment
Ed Wilson was a farmer and his Dad sold farm machinery. He began welding yard art at age 65. He saw a display of old wrenches and that got him started, and eventually made a "wrench chicken" which stood prominently in his yard. He was always looking for wrenches. His wife would give him ideas, including using spring teeth and combine bearings. "Old farmers always weld", he said. He also made metal tractors.
Leroy Wilson - Luray, Kansas - 1912-1991
For 12 years after retirement, Leroy Wilson of Luray spent many hours in his basement painting plaids, stripes, and starbursts on every vertical and horizontal surface. The next year he would again repaint colorful quilt-like patterns on the walls, ceiling, doors and even the utility pipes to create a unique interior environment.
Jim Wood - Belleville, Kansas
Jim Wood retired to his hometown of Belleville, KS after a career in the Air Force, and being an accountant in Colorado. He taught himself wood carving in retirement, bringing home wood from travels to Alaska, New Mexico, and Colorado. He mainly carved wood character "face" wall hangings, busts, walking sticks and tree trunks in people's yards.