Jimmie Lee Sudduth (Spring 1996 and Winter 1995)

JIMMIE LEE SUDDUTH
Born 1910
Lives Fayette, Alabama
(note spelling--although it is invariably published as "Jimmy", I'm told that Mr. Sudduth's name is spelled "Jimmie" on his Social Security card)

"You ever see anything like that? Well shut my mouth!"

I've always told people, if you can only go see one artist, Jimmie is the man to see. Jimmie is not only a superb artist, he's also a gregarious and friendly host. He's slowed down quite a bit (I guess that'll happen when you're in your mid-90's), and his output of paintings has slowed to a trickle, but he's still worth a visit. This is one of the all time greats, and you really should give yourself a chance to meet him. A visit to his house means a great day of stories and songs. In the past, he'd always pull out his harmonica and wail the blues for you, but recent health trouble now prevents him from playing. You'll still likely get a song or two sung to you though.

The self-proclaimed "most famous artist in the world" has been making his distinctive mud paintings since he was four. As a child, he'd paint figures on trees with mud, but they'd always wash away. He figured out that if he mixed a little molasses (or sugar water, or Coca Cola) in with the mud, it would stick and stay. Originally, Jimmie painted with his fingers, because they "never wear out". On Doctor's orders, he now mostly uses brushes.

"Self-Portrait With Guitar" (mid 1980's)

Jimmie claims to have found over 30 different colors of mud in his career. He further supplements his palette with colors from plants and berries, and in more recent years, with house paint. Collectors have always been apprehensive about the durability of a painting made of mud, but from all reports, works that are 30 years old have held up well.

Because of this concern, and because of dealer requests for more colorful pieces, Jimmie's recent work uses more and more paint, and less and less mud.

Jimmie has had a lifetime fascination with architecture, which is reflected in his many paintings of houses and buildings.

"Woman With Red Hair" (mid to late 1980's)
Jimmie with one of his many dogs from over the years, all named "Toto", "the smartest dog in the world." At right, two versions of "Toto", Top 1991, Bottom 1995

One of Jimmie's most famous images is that of his dog, "Toto". "Smartest dog in the world", as Jimmie likes to say. The first Toto passed away a few years ago, and has been followed by a progression of new Totos, although none of them seem to measure up to the original.

"Spotted Mud Gator"
Jimmie has definitely become my favorite artist. The combination of his amazing painterly creations, and his charm and winning personality have made him tops in my book. I remember watching him paint the "Deer" painting below, and thinking, "oh, this doesn't look real great." Then, a few moments later, I was stunned at the few subtle changes Jimmie made, the shading in the animal's back, the odd shape of the grass beneath it and the detail of the face. It quickly became one of the most prized paintings in my collection.

He is one of a kind, a man you really have to experience in person. I've sent dozens of people to his house and every single one has come away with a smile and a wonderful story about their visit.

"Statue Of Liberty", Jimmie says the house at the bottom is her house, so she can go sit down when she gets tired.

Jimmie Lee Sudduth

"Ho! I'm bad this mornin'!"

"Houses"
"Log Cabin" circa 1980

"Jesse James Train"
"Deer"
"Flower Pot"

"Nine Santa Clauses In Front Of New York"
Self Portrait (mid to late 1980's)
"Indian Chief"
Untitled
"Oldsmobile" (mid to late 1980's)

"Brooklyn Bridge"

"Bicycle Rider"

 

Big Al Taplet
Peter Spivak