|Known for||Painting and mixed media|
|Awards||Wisconsin Visual Arts Lifetime Achievement Award|
Simon Sparrow (1925-2000) was an American folk artist, a painter and mixed media artist who was born in West Africa and grew up in North Carolina on a Cherokee Reservation. He was a self-taught artist and received a Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award (WVALAA) in 2012. Sparrow's work is considered folk art and his piece Assemblage with Found Objects is held by the Smithsonian American Art Museum on the 3rd Floor, Luce Foundation Center.
Simon Sparrow began creating art at age seven and also began his practice of informal and street preaching in his youth. He moved to Philadelphia and enlisted in the army in 1942. He later moved to New York before settling in Madison, Wisconsin.
Sparrow is best known for his mixed media constructions and paintings, which he began creating once he moved to Madison, Wisconsin in the 1970s. One of his pieces, "Simon Sparrow Outsider Art Picture, ca. 1980" was appraised on Antiques Roadshow in July 2009 for $6,000-8,000. On 20 May 2012, Sparrow was posthumously awarded a WVALAA along with 13 other honorees.
Some exhibitions of note for Sparrow's work include:
- "Great and Mighty Things" - Philadelphia Art Museum (2013)
Sponsored by Comcast Corporation and Duane Morris, this exhibition was organized around self-taught artists that worked in "remote or rural places with unconventional methods and with materials such as reclaimed wood, sheet metal, house paint, and stove soot."
- "Off Center: Outsider Art in the Midwest" - Minnesota Museum of American Art (1996)
- "Visionaries, Outsiders and Spiritualists: American Self-Taught Artists" (1994)
Organized by Entourage: Exhibitions of Horsham, PA. this exhibit of 16 self-taught artists included some of Sparrow's "masklike heads (that) appear to radiate auras of energy, as if embodying a spiritual force."
- "Structure and Surface: Beads in Contemporary American Art" - Renwick Gallery (1990)
Featuring some of Sparrow's "untitled collages (that) combine commercial beads, stick figures and found objects such as rocks, metallic chains, glitter and tinsel to portray religious imagery."
- "37 Visionary Works of Outsider Art" - Princeton, Carnegie Center for Art & History (1987)
- "Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Awards: Simon Sparrow". Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Assemblage with Found Objects by Simon Sparrow". Smithsonian American Art Museum, Luce Center. Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Simon Sparrow". Raw Vision. Spring 2001. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Philadelphia Tribune. 03 March 2013. ""Great and Mighty Things" presents drawings, paintings, sculptures, and other objects by twenty-seven self-taught artists." pg 4-5
- "Antiques Roadshow, Madison Hour 3 (#1409)". Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Local artist Evelyn Patricia Terry to be honored on May 20". Milwaukee Courier. 11 May 2012.
- The New York Times. Sunday, 01 May 1994. "Outsider Artists and a Beginner at Nearly Age 80." pg 34
- Stonesifer, Jene (9 August 1990). "Beads: More than Art on a String". The Washington Post. p. 30.
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