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IMAGE GALLERY

Featured image is "Untitled" (1989), 7 x 4 x 5.5 inches, unfired clay, paint, aluminum, pebbles, from
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 3/26/2017

James 'Son Ford' Thomas: The Devil and His Blues

Delta blues musician, gravedigger, mechanic, housepainter and sharecropper James 'Son Ford' Thomas made small clay artworks from Mississippi "gumbo" clay from the time he was eight years old until his death in 1993. A self-taught artist, he is best known for his uncanny busts of historical figures, friends and imaginary characters sporting artificial hair, dentures, glasses, and other relics of the living world. He also made unfired clay sculptures of birds, snakes, squirrels, fish and skulls—all of which had significance in the folk spiritual practice, 'hoodoo.' Often, his skulls doubled as ashtrays or pencil holders. "A skull has got to be ugly because it's nothing but bones and teeth. People are more likely to be interested in something like that than they would be in a bird. They'd rather see a skull. Then too, a lot of people have never seen a real skull and they're probably wondering how it will be when they die. They say, 'Will I be in the same shape that skull there is in?'"

James 'Son Ford' Thomas: The Devil and His Blues

James 'Son Ford' Thomas: The Devil and His Blues

Karma, New York
Pbk, 5.75 x 8.75 in. / 152 pgs / 71 color / 20 duotone.





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