by Aisha Sylvester
For decades they canvassed Florida's highways. Sharply dressed sweet-talkers, they convinced souvenir stores and hotels to purchase their canvases. Now, over 50 years later, some of the original band of Highwaymen artists are back.
Abrams has just released The Journey of the Highwaymen, a compilation of captivating images from one of the most unique art movements of 20th-century America. With little more than inexpensive Upson board and a desire to improve their economic standing, these 26 self-taught artists painted their way into African-American history and the Florida Artists Hall of Fame. Initially regarded as kitsch, their depictions of crashing waves and vibrant sunsets are credited with encouraging a view of Florida as an exotic and untamed hinterland in the mid-20th century.
And if you happen to be in Winter Park, Florida, within the next couple months, you can see original paintings on display at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center, through June 27.