Rutherford "Tubby" Brown, native Georgia folk artist, passed away in July of 2003. A self taught artist, he was a carpenter by trade but ran a grocery store for 35 years before turning his energetic attention to making found objects into wonderful folk art carvings whose subjects ranged from biblical to pop culture. A businessman and a "character" he loved to entertain people and to have fun with his art.
He was a whirlwind of creative energy. His white clapboard home and yard in Jefferson, near Gainesville, Ga were filled with his wooden cutouts, birdhouses and objects made of junk, like the star-spangled Uncle Sam stove tops, made out of tin cans that hung on a swing set.
Brown began making art after a heart condition forced him to retire in 1981. Brown, who became less tubby after the diagnosis, put those carpentry skills to especially good use in his vividly painted cutout tableaux.
He would carve figures -- free-standing and framed -- about subjects ranging from biblical stories like Jonah and the whale to pop music. Elvis Presley was a favorite. In one piece, the rocker stands on a record player, and the record -- "Teddy Bear" -- turns around. The artist was quite proud of that.
Brown was friendly with fellow folk artist R.A. Miller, who lived not too far away, and he was a longtime fan and collector of Meaders-family face jugs.