2014 Featured Artist

 

Paul Clarke, aka the Delta Wanderer, is the featured artist for the 2014 Art for Art’s Sake Auction

Waiting at the Blue's Club Door

Waiting at the Blue's Club Door by Paul Clarke

Clarke spent his early years in Memphis. In the ’60s, he lived and visited places such as Japan, Indonesia, Egypt, Germany, and much of the United States, traveling around the world before the age of 15. He attended college at The University of Memphis and taught graphic arts for Memphis City Schools in the late ’70s.

These days he documents the dying towns of the Mississippi Delta, capturing buildings in haunting photographs before they are lost forever.

“I find my subjects by just wandering around,” Clarke said. “Been down just about every main and back road from Memphis to Vicksburg and more. Exploring sounds like you have a goal, wandering has no direction, never know where I’m going. Been down a road and saw nothing, then the next time on that road my eyes open and I see all kinds of new stuff and ideas.

“The Delta is a dying place. All the ag jobs are disappearing. Now one man can farm over 1,000 acres alone. I know of a family of four who farm 10,000 acres outside of Greenwood. Looking at the dying towns I wonder about the people that came before, and I see the ghost of their faces.

“My father was from Prairie, Miss. The family home is gone and the town has disappeared. Train station and all the stores on the main street gone.

“Part of what I am now doing is photojournalism. I took an abstract photo of a building’s door about 10 years ago. A nice close-up with cool colors. No long shot, then the building was leveled. Ran across a photo of the Three Rivers store where Robert Johnson was poisoned. It was my close-up door shot, now I don’t have a picture of the whole building!

“I take pictures of every old structure I now find.”

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