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TroyFest honors festival pioneer, folk art

When the 2021 TroyFest Art Festival gets underway Saturday on the square in downtown Troy, 60 artists will display and sale a variety of handmade and handcrafted items in a variety of categories including painting, pottery, graphics, drawing, sculpture, functional and decorative crafts, photography and Jean Lake Folk Art.

The last category is certainly not the least.

“The Jean Lake Folk Art category is very special to our festival,” said TroyFest Arts and Crafts Publicity Chair Morgan Drinkard.  “The Jean Lake Folk Art division honors the incredible Troy folk artist Jean Lake and, with the heritage of the festival involving so many talented folk artists, we want to ensure this category is always filled.”

Drinkard said folk art is by definition, self-taught art, and that can embody so many different styles and types of creative expression.

“We are anticipating both new artists in this category such as Lou Hii, and welcoming back some of our dear friends who have been a part of this category for many years,” Drinkard said.

Lou Hii is from Indianapolis, Indiana, and his designs are created through a series of sketches.

“The sketches are hand-cut with a X-Acto knife and special tools on black paper,” Drinkard said. “Finished cuts are collaged and glued with color paper to the background. His work is amazingly unique.”

M Hakima of Wise Angel Gallery in Flomaton works with Grumbacher oil paint on canvas, utilizing a variety of colors.

“The abstract designs explore the depth of texture and space,” Drinkard said. “The drawings use pencil, ink, paste, crayon and charcoal.”

Scott Mc Queen of Northport said folk art takes viewers to a place where emotions are invoked and one’s spirit is stirred.

“It’s pretty cool breathing new life into old barn wood, rusty tin, car tags, barbed wire and the like,” McQueen said. “Taking rusty and weathered scrap and creating art is a lot of fun and extremely fulfilling. In fact, the whole endeavor is a simple kind of mirror reflection of my own life, shaped and formed through my faith in God. My work is always changing in form and fashion, and, for that matter so am I.”

Drinkard said Troy folk artist Wally Lowery and Blockhead Arts from Oneonta are also favorite among those who collect folk art and those who are newcomers to the primitive style of art.

“Jean Lake Folk Art pays tribute to Troy’s own folk artist and the pioneer of TroyFest, which is a premier art festival in Central Alabama,” Drinkard said. “We are looking forward to a great weekend of the arts on Saturday and Sunday and invite everyone to downtown Troy for TroyFest 2021.