Richland Rum and Pasaquan Unite
Last Fall, Erik Vonk was invited to tour the Pasaquan Art Site with a few members of the Columbus State University Art Department. Without much prior knowledge of the site, Erik accepted the invite and made the brief 7 mile trek from Richland, GA to Buena Vista, GA where Pasaquan is located. Upon arrival, there was an immediate feeling of inspiration mixed with mesmerization (and perhaps a bit of bewilderment).
Pasaquan is the magnum opus, so to speak, of legendary Georgia folk artist, Eddie Owens Martin, who went by the moniker of St. EOM (pronounced: “ohm”). During his lifetime, St. EOM was perceived in a variety of ways- some claim he was a mystical wizard who could summon snakes with one breath, some remember him as an eccentric street hustler, and for a few he was simply a friend. No matter the perception, St. EOM used the farm land inherited from his mother to create his art landscape full of psychedelic patterns and images, shapes, bold colors, and styles which converge to illuminate his philosophy of unity.
Born in Buena Vista, GA in 1908, the legend of St. EOM really required momentum during his years on the scene in Greenwich Village up in NYC. His Southern roots made him a unique figure even amidst the whimsical people of the Village where he worked as a street hustler, fortune-teller, and drag queen among other things. When his mother became ill, he returned South to care for her while also battling some illness himself. When his mother passed, he inherited 7 acres of land that was of no real use for farming, and thus of little value. However, St. EOM was summoned by a vision in which he was told: “You’re gonna be the start of somethin’ new, and you’ll call yourself ‘Saint EOM,’ and you’ll be a Pasaquoyan – the first one in the world.”