Home, Home on the Strange

Of the 5000 souls that reside in Mulvane, Kansas, only one vies for the title of America’s strangest folk artist. On the main road cutting through this little burg, sits a house whose owner is a painter with, well…divine inspiration. The structure itself serves as his palate, his preferred medium — spray paint…. CONTINUE READING >>


The God Guy of Kansas

Of
the 5000 souls that reside in Mulvane, Kansas, only one vies
for the title of America’s strangest folk artist.

On
the main road cutting through this little burg, sits a house
whose owner is a painter with, well…divine inspiration.

The structure itself serves as his palette, his preferred medium
— spray paint.

A little
leery of getting too close to the place, Veronica was making
good use of her zoom lens before realizing that capturing
the full extent of the subject could only be executed from
up close.

Cautiously exiting the car, she left the door
open. As a shield
against a sudden burst of gunfire? Hmmm, a tad paranoid, but a quick
getaway

could be needed. Behind the wheel, David inched our vehicle
up toward the mish-moshed masterpiece.

With
her face buried in the camera capturing images of graffitized
stream of consciousness craziness like “X-END-STOP-XX
EVIL SIN DRUGS / SIN -> HELL EVER FIRE,” her heart
thumping a mile a minute, Veronica shot like paparazzi at
a Brittney, Lindsey and Paris drunken pantyless party.

Advancing
toward the front gate, suddenly she realized someone was

standing
directly in front of her. It was an elfish little man with a big toothless grin on his face. A friendly one.

A quick visual
frisking indicated that there were no firearms involved, so Veronica
stuck out her hand in greeting and was relieved that her hand
was taken in kind. David moved in from the support vehicle and
we met Mr. Ronald Pollard, the God Guy himself. No call for backup
needed.

Sporting
a sunny disposition and a Kansas City Chiefs sweatshirt,
Mr. Pollard seems a gentle little man, in stark contrast
to the “GOD IS ANGRY” and “WHO KILLED JESUS?”
pronouncements emblazoning the front of his home.

Our fears
forgotten, we asked him a few questions
and that was more than enough to get him started. As artist and
curator he insisted we see the work in its entirety. We

followed
him as he talked, and talked, and talked.

We pretty
much got his life story. He specifically asked us not to call
him Ron, he used to go by Ron but recently “God set him straight.”
His parents named him Ronald and he must honor that. When asked
what he does for a living, he merely said “I’m 72.”

Mr. Pollard
is a simple man, and during the entire course of our visit, it
never occurred to him that we didn’t see things exactly the
same way he did. Being awoken by God in the middle of the night
and told to arise, go forth and spray paint stuff on the side
of a house seems perfectly normal to Ronald.

God
has a lot to say. Every available surface, outbuildings,
fences and even cars were covered in God graffiti.

This
is a life’s work for Ronald, as far as he can recollect,
he got the calling sometime in 1992 and insists that “God
does it all, it’s all from God.”

It’s the
fine line that separates a temple like this from your run
of the mill New
York City subway car in the graffiti art world.

Ronald insisted
we follow him down a path lined with odd doors, through a courtyard
of assorted strange relics to a freestanding garage on the back
of the grounds. Inside, an old car whose hatchback runneth over
with tracts and bibles awaited the next evangelical journey.

We
were informed that bibles were on sale for a buck at the Dollar
General Store so he stocked up. He handed us a few sheets of fuzzy
Xeroxed paper of bible teachings with indistinguishable handwritten
scribblings in the margins. With his testifying completed, he
escorted us back to our vehicle.

Standing
on the sidewalk in the front of his house, Ronald asked
if he could pray over us.

Touched, we agreed, and he petitioned
for our safe travels, our country’s leaders (“even
the wicked ones”) and anything else that came to his
mind in a stream of befuddled babble that managed
to end with amen.

We thanked him and headed on our way.

Looking back
over our shoulders, we caught a glimpse of Mr. Pollard waving
and smiling, right where we left him. Waiting for God’s next
directive to be delivered and then sprayed onto one of the few
remaining clear spots on the Pollard residence.

His art may
be angry, but Ronald Pollard is a happy guy.

David & Veronica,
GypsyNester.com


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6 thoughts on “Home, Home on the Strange”

  1. This is an awesome article! So glad you braved it and said hello, that always opens up such interesting experiences… though I would have done a VERY thorough visual frisking to ensure I wouldn’t be shot dead. 🙂

    1. Don’t think he would have taken to a frisking very well, but all’s well that ends well we say! And you’re right – we do meet the most interesting folks by just reaching out.

  2. The epitome of "man on a mission!"

    I agree with The Mother–I'm afraid I would've made a wide berth around that house. Glad you were brave enough to risk the encounter.

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