"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
"The most thorough work on an environmental/folk artist to date . . . There is entertainment here, as well as art. . . . Short of a trip to Georgia, this book is a highly suggested alternative."
"St. EOM in the Land of Pasaquan documents the iconography of a true iconoclast with a vitality entirely faithful to the eccentric energies of its subject."
—Village Voice Literary Supplement
"St. EOM in the Land of Pasaquan finally and with a sure hand subverts and devastates the public conception of the self-taught artist as naive, primitive, sweet, and isolated from the moral seriousness of the 'real' world."
"Is Mr. Patterson perhaps incautious in accepting the word of a man who was justly proud of his talents as a deceiver? Never mind. The skeptic has not been born who could indefinitely withstand the alternately seductive and challenging, eloquent and profane, oddly black-inflected voice that speaks from the pages of St. EOM in the Land of Pasaquan."
—New York Times Book Review
"The story of worldly adventures and spiritual journeys, the book is as shocking, touching, and full of wisdom as the storyteller himself. . . . Through St. EOM in the Land of Pasaquan we are able to enter the bizarre world of Pasaquan and its creator. In the process we might even come to realize that its not that strange after all."
—Folk Art Messenger
“Pasaquan, full of colors, symbols and faces, is just about impossible to describe. It’s too big, too multifaceted—its story too intertwined with the complex life of its creator.'
—Athens Banner Herald
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.
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