Leslie Lovell, Savannah GA

Missionary Mary Proctor - Outsider/Folk Art

Missionary Mary Proctor was born in Tallahassee, Florida in 1960 where she experienced a hard life growing up poor outside the city. Luckily she was fortunate to have been raised by her grandmother who provided her with a loving environment. When she was 32, her beloved Grandmother, aunt and uncle were killed in a horrific house fire that thrust her into a deep depression.

" 'My grandmother really was the one who raised me, and my aunt and uncle were always there, and I was praying then to figure out her death, figure out why such things happen to such good people. And then I felt like I could hear my grandmother's voice, saying "God will show you the way."' In January 1995, Mary decided to go on a fast and confront the meaning of her loss. She retired to her backyard, under an old oak tree, to drink only water and spend her days reading the Bible and meditating. On the 30th day of her fast she had a vision of 'blinding light, brighter than the sun.' It was different 'than any earthly light. It was shining just for me, surrounding me,' she said. A voice told her to go to an outbuilding on her property and get a door, some paint and a brush. At the building, Mary found a door and some blue paint. She returned to the oak tree where she had been meditating and the voice told her to paint the door. The instructions, Mary says, got more specific." - Steve Kistulentz/Raw Vision

Out of tragedy, she found her calling. Mary sees herself as a missionary and uses her art to spread her messages. She uses a variety of materials to build her story. Typically, she paints stories from her life that carry the lessons she learned from her grandmother.

Her work can be found at the American Folk Art Museum & Gallery in Tallahassee. Proctors work has also been shown at the Morris Museum in Augusta, GA, the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Art in Eatonville, FL, the Mennello Museum of American Folk Art, the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee, FL, and the American Visionary Art Museum. Select artworks can be found in the permanent collection of the House of Blues.

Artworks by Missionary Mary Proctor - Outsider/Folk Art