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Art and the South: Spotlight on Athens, Alabama, and Native Son Paxton

Posted: Nov 23, 2008

The little north Alabama town of Athens may not be the Sante Fe of the South, but I am willing to bet there is more artistic talent in Athens Alabama, per capita (population less than 21,000) than any other comparable town in the south. Over the next few weeks, I want to take a closer look at my little town of Athens and pay tribute to some of the talented artists who now call or have called Athens home.

Alabama artist Paxton (Mobley) was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1970, but he grew up on Elk River near Athens in North Alabama. He studied art at Queens College in Charlotte, North Carolina, and shortly after graduation, packed his belongings in a Volkswagen van and headed for California. Paxton, billed as America's New Surrealist, had his first major one man show in San Francisco in 1993, and since that time he has exhibited from coast to coast, including three shows in New York City. (the artist is pictured here with his auntie Penne at the San Francisco show)

By 1994, Paxton was recognized as "the World's First Midrealist;" but since the birth of his daughter in 2001, Paxton's art has become even more mythical and he has created a fantasy world which he calls Tridoria. On Halloween, Paxton opened a show in Seaside, California, at the Alternative Cafe with three other bay area artists. This show will be on exhibit until December 8. To learn more about Paxton, check out the Swampland feature: Paxton: Out of This World.

On October 17, I posted the first in a series featuring Alabama artists showcasing the work of Alabama filmmakers Max Shores and Deryle Perryman. I plan to continue this series spotlighting painters, potters, sculptors, photographers, writers, and filmmakers who live or have lived and worked in Alabama. Watch Swampland for more Art and the South.

---Penne J. Laubenthal

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