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 Sulton Rogers  (1922 - 2003)

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Lived/Active: Mississippi      Known for: folk carver-fanciful images, religion

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Sulton Rogers
An example of work by Sulton Rogers
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Sulton Rogers (1922-2003), whose first name is often misspelled as "Sultan," was a Mississippi folk artist noted for his fanciful, grotesque, and occasionally erotic woodcarvings. Rogers was born and raised in Oxford, Mississippi in 1922. He was taught wood carving by his father when he was 13.

Rogers' notoriety as an artist only came about after his retirement. In his early years, he joined the army, traveled the United States, and in 1952, settled in Syracuse, New York. He worked as a carpenter, a trade he also learned from his father, and retired from Allied Chemical in 1984. He began carving at Allied Chemical while on the night shift as a means of occupying his time and delighting his coworkers with his unusual creations.

Rogers began carving extensively as a post-retirement activity, around 1985, after he returned to his native Oxford. He carved numerous Haints" (aka "Haunts" or "Ghosts") which often reflected images from his dreams. Often he would group these carvings in "Haint Houses" which were peopled with comedically spooky wooden ghosts, including some with the bodies of humans but with animal heads and/or more than one head upon the body. He referred to his most powerful dreams as "Futures," which were so filled with urgency to be manifest in the world that he made a point of carving them immediately upon waking while the images were still fresh.

His early carvings, he said, were inspired by dreams of the animals he saw in his native Mississippi and by the people he met in his travels. The subject of Rogers' carvings predominate with these supernatural characters of devils and haints, but they also include satirical figures, religious images, and occasionally, historical personages.

Sulton Rogers died on April 5, 2003 in Oxford, Mississippi.

His fanciful carvings are found in the permanent collections of the Mississippi State Historical Museum, the Museum at the University of Mississippi, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Information submitted February 2005 by Robert Crook.
His sources are "Light of the Spirit" by Karekin Goekjian; "Passionate Visions of the American South" by Alice Rae Yellen; and interviews with persons who knew the artist.

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