Lonnie Bradley “Sandman” Holley

The 7th of 27 children, Lonnie Holley was born in Birmingham, Alabama on February 10, 1950. Spending much of his early years in foster homes he left school in the seventh grade and ran away to New Orleans. He was adopted by his natural grandmother at age 14. Holley spent several years drifting around the South working usually as a short order cook but eventually settled in his hometown of Birmingham.

Tragically, Holley lost two nieces in a house fire in 1979 plunging him into a period of suicidal depression. Fortunately, he decided to do something constructive with his grief and since his family could not afford headstones for the children, he set out to make them himself. Assembling discarded sandstone molds and pipe fittings, Holley created his first works of art and soon began to create an “environment” of found materials in his yard as well as carvings of sandstone. By 1981 Holley’s highly spiritual and ancestral African figures had captured the interest of the director of the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution which included him in the exhibition “More Than Land and Sky: Art From Appalachia” at the Museum of American Art in Washington.

Over the last twenty years Holley has taken his art from humble beginnings meant to ease his pain to lofty spiritual and philosophical carvings, assemblages and paintings which have elevated him to his current position as a major national folk artist.

Birmingham Museum of Art
“Perspectives”
“Perspectives 8”
Cultural Olympiad 1996 Olympics, Atlanta, Georgia
Exhibited White House Gardens, Washington, D.C.

           This page is informational only and shows examples of

        works previously done by the artist

Click on any image below to enlarge:

“Horse”
10 ½” x 6 ½” x 7” (h)
Carved sandstone

“Abstract with Image Inside”
7” x 10” x 8” (h)
Carved sandstone

“Jewelry Holder with Image”
7’ x 5” x 3 ¼” (h)
Carved sandstone

“Our of Mother’s Hand We Get The Power”
31” x 13” x 16” (d)
Wire sculpture assemblage

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