(1915 - 1998)

 

Anderson Johnson was born in Lunenburg County, Virginia in 1915 and lived in Newport News. The son of a sharecropper, he received his first message from God when he was a small boy, but waited until he was sixteen to go and preach. He was a street preacher and had congregations in many cities before moving to Newport News in 1985 after an accident left him partially paralyzed. He converted the first floor of his house into a church which he called his Faith Mission, and where he held Sunday services. The walls of his Faith Mission were covered inside and out with hundreds of paintings, mostly of women's faces and usually done on salvaged plywood or cardboard. In 1993 his house was demolished for an urban renewal project, but his wall murals were saved. Rev. Johnson was also an accomplished musician and composer (words to one of his songs below).
His work has appeared in many exhibitions and is in the permanent collection of many museums including Asheville Art Museum and the St. James Place Folk Art Museum. He passed away in 1998.

Ref: Contemporary American Folk Art, Chuck and Jan Rosenak (1996); Self Taught, Outsider and Folk Art, Betty-Carol Sellen (2000)