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Butch Anthony describes himself as an "artist, builder and picker of things". Whilst following the age-old folk art tradition of creating treasure from trash, Butch Anthony pushes the boundaries of art, existence, and respectability with his strange and beautiful creations. He wasn't educated at art school but in the woods of Alabama where he hunted racoons, skinned snakes and dug up arrowheads. A curious boy, Butch Anthony spent his childhood exploring the fields and back roads of his Alabama home, digging up bones, tin cans, old bottles and fossils. At the age of 14 he started building birdhouses and doing taxidermy; soon after he built a one-room log cabin by himself, which became a shop for his macabre stuffed creations. His salvaging skills developed and he began to build and fashion furniture, sculpture and scrap oddities. Butch Anthony started making art in 1994 when his friend and neighbour John Henry Toney ploughed up a gnarly turnip that looked like it had a human face on it. Anthony suggested that John Toney make a picture of it which he did and he took it to a local junk shop. It sold for $50. As Anthony tells it, "I thought hell, if he can do it I'll make one too. I made a picture, stuck in the junk store, put $50 on it. Next day someone came along and bought it. I've been painting ever since". Now Butch Anthony runs "Possum Trot" a junk auction house and "The Museum of Wonder", where his wonderful creations and bizarre collections can be admired and purchased. The museum is a barn full of oddities that has included things like "the world's largest gallbladder", a replica of a human skeleton, a stuffed chicken and more Anthony Butch artwork. Anthony says, "I try to just take junk that I find on the road and turn it into the kind of junk someone would want to have hanging on their walls. But all of it is junk". His artwork includes 19th century photographic portraits painted over with cartoonish white skeletons, and old photos affixed to paintings of imaginary mythical creatures. His work is not easy to define and his inventive creative spirit sees his artistic talents applied to numerous different modes and mediums. Anthony has invented a word to describe his art, "Intertwangelism", which he defines as "Inter, meaning to mix, and twang, a distinct way of speaking. If I make up my own "ism", no one can say anything or tell me I'm doing it wrong". Butch Anthony has said, "Intertwangelism is how I look at people and break them down to their primordial beginnings. Almost like x-ray vision, seeing through a person's clothes, through their skin, and muscles and veins and bones even their shadow. These first skeletonised paintings are just the first phase of my theory to take over the art world as we know it". He dresses exclusively in Liberty denim overalls (he owns 25 pairs) and a straw hat (he has ten). The maverick artist, described as a "ramshackle genius", is now the muse of documentary film maker Les Blank who has hailed him as a "national treasure". Once chosen by The State of Alabama to make a Christmas tree ornament for the White House, Anthony and his morbid and humorous "hillbilly chic" aesthetic are now receiving international acclaim. Read our editorial featuring Butch Anthony: Butch Bones and Scavenged Brilliance: The Wonderful Art of Butch Anthony.

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