Benjamin Franklin Perkins was born on February 6th, 1904 in Vernon, Alabama. When he was a young man he joined the merchant marines because he wanted to see the world. He eventually became a U.S. Marine and was part of the Marine Corps. assigned to protect President Coolidge. He also claimed he was involved in secret missions to Latin America. On one of these missions he converted to Christianity and became an evangelist. He preached at revivals throughout the United States most of his life.

In 1969 he returned to Alabama where he built a church and meeting hall close to his home in Bankston. Perkins decorated and painted his environment with religious symbols, patterns, patriotic flags and signs in red, white and blue.

After open heart surgery he took an art course at a local junior college and they allowed him to express his passion for art on canvas, wood or found objects. He used bold bright colours to paint three themes – the illustrated stories from the Bible, patriotic scenes and slogans, or quirky objects found in King Tut's tomb such as the Sacred Condor and Love Birds.

B. F. Perkins died on January 12th,1993. Unfortunately, his home studio and environment were destroyed by vandalism and fire.

Ref: Contemporary American Folk Art, Chuck and Jan Rosenak (1996); Self Taught, Outsider and Folk Art, Betty-Carol Sellen (2000)

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B.F. Perkins