About the Artist
Clyde, a former mill worker, lives in Bynum, just south of Chapel Hill and north of Pittsboro, near the path of the Haw River through Chatham County. He has been making his critters, as well as paintings of penguins, butterflies, elephants, and pandacows (his version of the Belted Galloways in residence at Fearrington Village), since 1982 and welcoming any and all fans to see his creations at his home, the exuberantly-painted Critter Crossing on Bynum Hill Road. Before you even get to the Critter Crossing, you will see critters of all shapes and sizes in the yard of almost every resident of Bynum. If you stop at the Bynum General Store, you will see a large painting of penguins on the wall. But you cannot miss the Critter Crossing when you finally get to it–the tin roof is painted with sea creatures, penguins march across the walls, and the yard is filled with critters of all shapes and sizes. Clyde is often on his front porch with a chainsaw, carving and assembling a new creation. He embellishes the critters with paint, glitter, fake flowers, spots, dots, bottle-cap or baseball eyes, and anything else to hand that will bring out the personality of each wooden animal in his menagerie. And Clyde isn’t just locally famous–his critters are in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution and have visited the Great Wall of China.
Clyde prefers to give away his critters and other works. He has participated frequently in the Haw River Festival, organized by the Haw River Assembly to restore and protect the river that runs near his home. He loves to visit schools and has said “Parents need to leave kids be to make whatever they want to make, however they want to make it. They know what they’re doing.” (1) In 2002, the Chatham Arts Council honored him as the first “Chatham County Cultural Treasure” and held the first Clydefest in his honor. (2)
Clydefest takes place in Bynum, NC every year in May or September.
(1) “Clyde Jones,” www.avam.org/our-visionaries/clyde-jones.shtml, last accessed 5/13/2015.
(2) Regina Bridgman, “Celebration to Honor Chatham Artist,” www.carrboro.com/clyde/clydefest.html, last accessed 5/13/2015. Regina was the executive director of the CAC at the time of the first Clydefest.
Where Else Can You Find His Work?
American Visionary Art Museum
Cameron Art Museum
Gregg Museum of Art and Design, North Carolina State University
Museum of International Folk Art
New Orleans Museum of Art
Saint James Place Folk Art Museum, Robersonville, NC
Publications and Press:
Unsigned, Unsung–Whereabouts Unknown, Florida State University Gallery and Museum, February 5-March 7, 1993, Guest Curator: James Roche, catalog
Passionate Visions of the American South: Self-Taught Artists, 1940 to the Present, New Orleans Museum of Art, October 23, 1993-January 30, 1994, Curator: Alice Rae Yelen, catalog
Not by Luck: Outsider Art by Southern Folks, Hunterdon Art Center, Clinton, NJ, December 5, 1993-January 9, 1994, Guest Curator: Lynne Ingram
Tree of Life, American Visionary Art Museum, November 24, 1995-September 1, 1996, Guest Curator: Roger Manley
Pictured in My Mind: Contemporary American Self-Taught Art from the Collection of Dr. Kurt Gitter and Alice Rae Yelen, Birmingham Museum of Art, February 4-April 7, 1996, catalog
Outsider Art: An Exploration of Chicago Collections, Chicago Cultural Center, December 9, 1996-February 23, 1997, Curator: Kenneth C. Burkhart, catalog
Still Worth Keeping: Communities, Preservation and Self-Taught Artists, South Carolina State Museum, October 18, 1997-March 8, 1998, Curators: Polly Laffitte and Tom Stanley
Location of Clyde’s Critter Crossing: