Benny Carter (1943-2014) Contemporary, American
Birthplace/Origin: American Folk Artist Virginia
Benny Carter (1943-2014) grew up in Madison, NC, surrounded by many relatives in a family-oriented, small-town culture where tobacco farming and Baptist religion were important. A 1962 graduate of Madison-Mayodan High School, he worked for many years as a supervisor at Halstead Metal Products, Inc., in Pine Hall, N.C. Benny began painting in 1991 after he was laid off from his job. He soon made a name for himself in the national and international art world. His paintings, decorative birdhouses, clocks, totems, metal sculptures and other works are what some people call outsider art or folk art. Benny preferred the term self-taught artist.
His works ranged from finely detailed miniatures to large yard-art pieces. He often used found objects in his art. A favorite theme was the New York City skyline and waterfront, often with the Statue of Liberty. He also depicted Biblical stories and farm scenes. A number of his works include the words “Buy Art.”
Benny and his art have been featured in several books, including “Self Taught, Outsider, and Folk Art,” by Betty-Carol Sellen with Cynthia J. Johanson; and “Light of the Spirit: Portraits of Southern Outsider Artists” by Karekin Goekjian and Robert Peacock. His works have been sold in many galleries and featured in exhibitions and collections across the nation, among them the American Visionary Museum of Art in Baltimore, Md.; The Puck, Art 54 and Toad Hall in New York City; the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, Va.; Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University; the University of Michigan Art Museum; Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Montgomery, Ala., and numerous others.