Earl Wayne Simmons

Earl Wayne Simmons  |  1956-  |  Bovina, MS

Found object environment and paintings

Original site 1980s – 2002.  |  New site (same location) 2002 – present

As a child, Earl Wayne Simmons made his own toys from scraps of cardboard, jar lids, and bottlecaps, sometimes using a Coca Cola bottle as a hammer.   In the early 80s, he began to build his home and “Fancy Art Emporium” in his home town of Bovina, Mississippi.  Constructed from scrap lumber, flattened aluminum tubing, reflectors, and other “found” materials, Earl included a juke box and dance floor.  Sadly, on August 20, 2002, a fire took all of his home, except a door.

Today, Earl is hard at work rebuilding his “art shop”, making it bigger and better than ever.  It is well over 5,000 square feet, without a square corner in it.  He has built is from salvaged and donated lumbar, and other “house parts.” While most of the walls, windows, and doors are in place, the recycled tin roof is still missing in places, making the spring rain a bit of an adventure.

I stood inside the door, letting my eyes get accustomed to the darkness (the electricity is currently being provided by his house next door, via extension cords.)  As he proudly pointed out the construction and the various rooms, it became apparent that I was going to have to go upstairs to see his art.  As I swallowed my “issues” with heights, I studied the locations of the randomly spaced rafters, and mentally mapped out my path upstairs.

A painting of a hot sauce bottle came home with me, along with a genuine awe of his engineering prowess.

Not only is he selling his paintings at the house, the Attic Gallery in Vicksburg also carries his work.