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Sybil Gibson (1908 -1995 ) - Biography

Sybil Gibson was born Sybil Aaron on February 18, 1908 in Dora, Alabama, the daughter of a successful coal mine operator who owned his own farm. Her childhood was filled with money and prosperity however most of her adult life was spent in dire poverty. Sybil was college educated and became an elementary school teacher. She married Hugh Gibson after graduation and they had a daughter. In 1963 on Thanksgiving Day at 55 years of age she discovered art. She had not touched art since her artistic soul was crushed when as a girl she was told by an art class instructor that she had no talent. She began making own wrapping paper from brown grocery bags and tempura paint. By soaking a heavy cardboard box she discovered when she pealed off the outside thick paper layer it made a sturdy painting surface. Although this was a very painstaking and time-consuming procedure she chose to make her canvases in brown paper and cardboard.

For the next thirty years painting became her passion and her escape from daily realities and hardship. Her compositions were always dreamlike and joyous and done in soft pastel shades.

This eccentric artist would disappear for long periods of time only to be discovered in Florida only to disappear again. Each time she would leave her paintings around her houses, mobile homes, and yards. Most of her work was destroyed by the elements but there are believed to be about 300 works in existence. Sybil Gibson died in 1995. Her work is in the American Folk Art Museum in New York.

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