St. EOM in the Land of Pasaquan
The Life and Times and Art of Eddie Owens Martin

As told to and recorded by Tom Patterson
Photography by Jonathan Williams,
 Roger Manley, and Guy Mendes
Foreword by John Russell
Foreword to the new edition by Dorothy M. Joiner

An illustrated history of an important visionary environment


"The most complete account of Martin’s life is his own long oral history transcribed by visiting journalist Tom Patterson in 1983 and published in his excellent book, St. EOM in the Land of Pasaquan."

"St. EOM’s fragrant and harrowing account of his cracker childhood is a small Southern classic. In more discursive passages, the voice lends almost equal persuasiveness to words of hard-earned wisdom and theories for which 'crackpot' seems an epithet too mild. . . . He played life’s game with some strange cards, but proved in the end to hold a full deck."
New York Times

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Self-taught Georgia artist Eddie Owens Martin (1908–86), known as St. EOM, created a visionary art site called Pasaquan in the mid-1950s in Marion County, Georgia. Covering seven acres, this evocative and fanciful site has captured the imaginations of thousands of visitors. Pasaquan includes six buildings connected by concrete walls, all of which are adorned with the artist’s vibrant, psychedelic folk art of bold, transfixing patterns, spiritual and tribal imagery, and exuberant depictions of nature.

According to St. EOM, his art arose from a vision he experienced in his mid-twenties, while suffering from a high fever. The first of many visionary experiences, it featured a godlike being who offered to be Martin’s spiritual guide. Subsequent visions inspired him to begin making art and, eventually, to create a spiritual compound dedicated to a peaceful future for humankind. St. EOM enlarged his house to twice its original size by adding a long rear section covered inside and out with his rainbow-hued murals, mandalas, and relief sculptures. On the grounds he built a series of structures including a circular dance platform, some small temples, several totems, and a two-story pagoda, all in his wildly ornamental style. He also created more than two thousand freestanding pieces, including paintings, sculptures, and drawings.

In the thirty years since St. EOM’s death, the Pasaquan Preservation Society worked to preserve the compound, which had fallen into neglect. In 2014 the Kohler Foundation and Columbus State University partnered with the society to restore the visionary art site for future generations. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Page count: 272
95 color photos
Trim size: 10 x 8


List price: $34.95

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Tom Patterson is the author of Howard Finster: Stranger from Another World and Contemporary Folk Art: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. His writing has appeared in afterimage, American Craft, Aperture, ARTnews, Art Papers, BOMB, Folk Art, New Art Examiner, Public Art Review, and Raw Vision.