Crown molding as frames, Upson board as canvas, tree trunks as easels, garages, and backyards as studios, make shift materials was the only game they knew. Signatures scratched in with nails, colors of undeveloped Florida, vivid scenes in oils were still wet! Who sold paintings still wet? The Highwaymen did! …The legends of the road
This is how The Florida Highwaymen artists name was earned, because of the way they sold their paintings. Door to door, business to business, attorneys, and doctors alike, along the side of US Highway One and A1A. From the trunks of their cars, lined side by side, they displayed their hand-painted creations and for $25 to $35 dollars, sold to locals and tourists.
Despite the success they had, during their long hard road, they were ignored for the color of their skin, neither museums nor galleries would display the work of black artists during the Jim Crow Laws. Incredibly under the radar they achieved success and fame! It is believed the Highwaymen created more than 200,000 paintings, a far better living than the hustle of working in packing houses or back-breaking fields, picking oranges and tomatoes.
Many of the Highwaymen took a pause and pursued other careers in the early 1980’s as sales dropped and interest in their art seemed to reduce. Then in the early 1990’s, because of quite a bit of publicity, the Highwaymen realized a resurgence in collectors and public interest. With this renewed interest came a sharp rise in demand and value.
Today, the Highwaymen paintings remain wildly popular and again many of the Original 26 now earn a living through painting unique highly collectible, primitive Florida landscapes, valued at thousands of dollars. Harold Newton of Gifford, Florida was 59, when he died of a stroke in 1994. Most would agree, he set the precedent for painting and door to door selling that the rest would follow.
A beautiful example of art transcending time is found in the story of the "Florida Highwaymen". Historic Artist A J Brown is a 2nd Generation Highwaymen and the appointed person by the originals to continue with THE HIGHWAYMEN heritage.
If you would like to gather more information about THE HIGHWAYMEN legacy visit our website : http://highwaymenajbrown.com/about-a-j-brown/
“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who, with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.” Pablo Picasso
Florida Highwaymen in Martin County