Leroy Almon Sr. in his Studio

LEROY ALMON SR.
Born 1938
Died 1997
Lived Tallapoosa, Georgia

I had the good fortune to visit Leroy Almon in the summer of 1996. Leroy was a genial and friendly host, a master woodcarver, and a man with a message, as evidenced from his works. Leroy passed away shortly thereafter. Leroy apparently had heart problems for a while but chose not to tell anyone. This again points out one of the sad truths of following this field. Many of these artists are elderly, and many are in poor health. Now is the time to go see them. Don't wait until it's too late. Get to know these wonderful people while you still can.

Leroy learned his craft from the great Elijah Pierce. He met Pierce at the barber shop Pierce ran, and convinced Pierce to take him on as an apprentice.

Leroy's work centered around religious, social and moral themes. He showed me how he first drew out each design on a fresh piece of wood.

"The Devil Fishing"
Next came the painstaking process of carving out the design, followed by painting. Unlike many artists, the quality of Leroy's work did not decline as demand increased. Despite his growing popularity, he still put the time and effort into each piece, preferring to produce well-made works, rather than churning out a large number of carvings.

Leroy's artistic talent and moral spirit is missed by the Folk Art world. I'm saddened that I won't have the chance to spend more time with him.

 

Garland and Minnie Adkins
Hope Atkinson