Celebrating The Life And Art Of Florida Highwayman, Johnny Lee Daniels

In honor of Johnny Lee Daniels, one of the Florida Highwaymen, we share his legacy with our readers today.  The Rickie Report shares a brief history of The Florida Highwaymen and some fond memories by his family and AJ Brown, whom he mentored.  The bright colors and scenes, some of which have faded into Florida’s history, remind us all of the powerful urge to create and share art!  This is the time to mentor young artists and preserve the rich inheritance of our present, for future generations!

COMMEMORATING  THE  LIFE  OF

 JOHNNY  LEE  ‘HOOK”  DANIELS

Johnny Lee ‘Hook’ Daniel  Photo Courtesy of AJ Brown

 

Florida Highwaymen:

AJ Brown tells us, “Harold Newton and Alfred Hair started a tradition of recruiting mostly friends and a few relatives, as they taught each other to paint; watching and learning from each other; then took to US Highway 1 to sell their recent productions, most times together, sometimes alone, sometimes in competition. Hair was the only painter mentored by prominent white artist, AE Backus.  Florida scenes came from the trunks of their cars while the paintings were still wet dripping with oils. Who sells wet art? Signatures scratched in with nails? The Highwaymen did! Using tree trunks as easels, Upson board for canvas, a knife or finger as a brush, crown molding for frames, 2×4’s and plywood as the assembly line. Makeshift materials served well, a means of getting by. They had to paint fast during segregated times of the Deep South as a matter of survival. They were searching for an escape, a way out living a hard life working orange groves, packing houses, and tomato fields”.

 

Florida Highwaymen Al Black, Johnny Lee Daniels, AJ Brown, Roy McLendon Photo Courtesy of AJ Brown

 

Their use of color on top of more colors, mixing and matching was eye-catching to locals and tourists, who bought their art, returned to their homes, transporting what was not yet history to far-away countries and unknown parts of the world. Twenty-five men and one female of the first Original group emerged from painters to artists. Each worked the highways which played a significant role to the development of the movement, which brought about multiple changes in the history of black culture and America. The young artists sold their paintings door to door for $15.00 – $35.00.

 

The Original Generation of Highwaymen Artists began in Fort Pierce.  These African American painters finally gained the recognition they deserved, as 26 of them were inducted into the Florida Artist Hall of Fame in 2004. The Original movement led to The 2nd Generation Historic movement, as a selected few African Americans were mentored by an Original, Johnny Lee Daniels. He painted for over four decades and dedicated his life to teaching and helping so many. Daniels was the “only Original investing years of mentoring protégés as one close family”: Jimmy and Johnny Stovall, Kelvin Hair, AJ Brown, and Richard Edwards. 

 

Johnny Lee Daniels:

Born on July 22, 1954 in Quincy, FL, Johnny Daniels lived his life in Fort Pierce, FL.  He was the youngest of the earliest core Originals and member of the Florida Highwaymen Art Movement. A veteran painter of over 40 years, Johnny began to paint as a young teen, during the mid 1960’s.

 

 

AJ tells us, “Daniels started by making frames for a short time. Not happy with meager earnings, Daniels learned to paint followed, by his brother Willie, by painting in his scenes when he stepped away for a break or wasn’t looking. Johnny also enjoyed watching his friend Livingston Roberts paint. Not fond of his younger brother’s habits, one day, Willie decided to take Johnny to the fields to pick oranges. He made enough money to buy his own art supplies and never stopped painting! Johnny earned his place in the world of art history and was inducted as an Original Highwaymen in the Florida Artist Hall of Fame in 2004”.

 

Johnny Lee Daniels  Photo Courtesy of AJ Brown

 

 

 

“Daniels’ humanitarian spirit reached above and beyond. Over time he ensured their accreditation, entitlement and success. Johnny and Kelvin were his business partners in his first gallery and he chose A J Brown in his last gallery. He was truly a history maker!  The self-taught entrepreneur, was gifted with impeccable talent, reflected his personal love for God’s nature in a lifetime of wildlife paintings! Never did he realize he’d bridge such a significant historic connection! “The Originals and the 2nd Generation”. Preservation of America’s history through art education for future generations, are essentials that Johnny understood! He is honored and remembered for his great achievements and contributions”.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of AJ Brown

 

America’s legend, Johnny Daniels died May 26, 2009 at age 54 in Ft Pierce Fl.; buried at Pine Grove Cemetery. Brown was authorized by Curly Daniels and Cultural Affairs to construct his grave-site monument. In 2011, his heirs named Brown legal representative and spokesmen of their father’s art estate.

 

AJ Brown presents an original Johnny Lee Daniels painting to President, Barak Obama and First Lady, Michelle Obama

 

The Florida Highwaymen History is a collective American past-time. Their rightful place in the world of history was reaffirmed, as part of an exclusive private White House collection. The work of Johnny Lee Daniels, is owned by United States of America, having been presented to the first African American, 44th President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.   Courtesy of A J Brown.

 

For more information please contact:
A J Brown 2nd Generation Highwaymen Artist
ajbartist@yahoo.com
(772) 882-0446

  www.highwaymenajbrown.com

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

Rickie@therickiereport.com   561-537-0291

17019 SW Sapri Way   Port St. Lucie, FL 34986

 

 

 

 

A J Brown, 2nd Generation, Carries On The Florida Highwaymen Legacy

A J Brown, 2nd Generation carries on the Florida Highwaymen legacy. Beginning in the 1950’s, a group of black artists painted Florida, the picturesque paradise that it was. “ Highwaymen”, a name given later in the late 90’s, were fitting for the men doing just that – selling their art along the side of major highways. People, who saw them along Florida’s highways, still remember the young entrepreneurs and enjoy sharing their memories. A J Brown, a renown Second Generation Highwaymen,  shares a detailed history of the Highwaymen and introduces her iconic artwork in this Rickie Report article.

 

 

 

A J   BROWN  

2nd Generation Highwaymen

 

 

 

 

AJ Brown tells us, “Harold Newton and Alfred Hair started a tradition of recruiting mostly friends and a few relatives, as they taught each other to paint; watching and learning from each other; then took to US Highway 1 to sell their recent productions, most times together, sometimes alone, sometimes in competition. Hair was the only painter mentored by prominent white artist, A E Backus.  Florida scenes came from the trunks of their cars while the paintings were still wet dripping with oils. Who sells wet art? Signatures scratched in with nails? The Highwaymen did! Using tree trunks as easels, Upson board for canvas, a knife or finger as a brush, crown molding for frames, 2×4’s and plywood as the assembly line. Makeshift materials served well, a means of getting by. They had to paint fast during segregated times of the Deep South as a matter of survival. They were searching for an escape, a way out living a hard life working orange groves, packing houses, and tomato fields”.

 

 

 

AJBrownprimitive PoincianaIMG_1625

“Primitive Poinciana” by A J Brown

 

 

 

Their use of color on top of more colors, mixing and matching was eye catching to locals and tourists, who bought their art, returned to their homes, transporting what was not yet history to far away countries and unknown parts of the world. Twenty five men and one female of the first Original group emerged from painters to artists. Each  worked the highways which played a significant role to the development of the movement which brought about multiple changes in the history of black cultural and America. The young artists sold their paintings door to door for $15.00 – $35.00.

 

 

 

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“Stormy Palms” by A J Brown

 

 

 

The Original Generation of Highwaymen Artists began in Fort Pierce.  These African American painters finally gained the recognition they deserved, as 26 of them were inducted into the Florida Artist Hall of Fame in 2004. The Original movement led to The 2nd Generation Historic movement, as a selected few African Americans were mentored by an Original, Johnny Lee Daniels. He painted for over four decades and dedicated his life to teaching and helping so many. Daniels was the “only Original investing years of mentoring protégés as one close family”: Jimmy and Johnny Stovall; Kelvin Hair, A J Brown and Richard Edwards. This distinct Generation is collective of blood relatives and a few close friends. As one group, the 2nd Gen produces their original hand painted raw essence of nature, passed down from their predecessors. The group’s serene landscapes speak across generations.

 

 

 

“Daniels owned two Highwaymen Art Galleries in Fort Pierce, Florida; made Johnny and Kelvin his business partners in his first gallery and A J his business partner. This well-respected, self-taught entrepreneur was gifted with impeccable talent and known for reflecting his personal love for God’s nature and wildlife in his paintings. Never realizing, he bridged an important historic connection from the Originals to the 2nd Generation.  Salsa painted orange skies, pink clouds, red trees and water ways were some of our subjects”, AJ reminisces.

 

 

 

AJBrownpickin oranges in FloridaIMG_1696

“Picking’ Oranges” by A J Brown

 

 

 

 

A J Brown shares, “Help us preserve the importance of America’s educational art history for future generations to embrace…The Originals supported and encouraged us, because our generation, our history, our lives matter! The magic remains in the beautiful historic landscapes of our generation…The 2nd Generation goals honors leaders Newton, Hair and twenty four pioneers by preserving America; painting Florida’s historical landscapes while keeping our history accurate, as it is passed on. Highwaymen Art is a magical nostalgic representation of a time lost, a distinctive brand worthy of preserving. Both generations are Grand enough for the White House”!

 

 

 

Born in Virginia and raised by a single mother and Seminole Indian grandmother in northern FL, A J Brown’s family were migrant fruit and vegetable pickers, from Tallahassee, FL. She tells us, “ Life offered hardships of living in camps traveling from highway to highway…during elementary years, attending Means Court Elementary in Fort Pierce, and over ten different schools, and fifteen addresses, I had no permanent home to call my own, a “Highwaymen” in every sense of the word. Growing up during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s, in the Deep South, I was among the first students to end segregation… before day break, early each morning I woke to take three buses out of my neighborhood across town to desegregate one white school in another town in 1970”.

 

 

 

AJBrownmoonlite over rivers edge IMG_1765

“Moonlite Over Rivers Edge” by A J Brown

 

 

 

 

Brown is a former community service work member helping scores of kids in need and is considered one of the best of the Second Generation. “Images of the vividly colored red Poinciana and purple Jacaranda trees along the southern coastal bayous of Florida are trademarks of my paintings. Taught to me by James Gibson, who said to me; “keep the Poincianas a secret”, and like a Highwaymen family recipe, I replied, “yes”.

 

 

 

 

AJBrownIMG_4718

AJ Brown’s Family Legacy of Serving Their Country 

 

 

Highwaymen history lives on as President Obama and the First Lady added two of my paintings to their collection. During a military meet-and-greet, thanking soldiers and their families, in December, 2014, A J Brown was honored to present her painting to the First Family, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii. She describes it as a “once in a lifetime experience! It was impressive and exciting” ! This was especially poignant because A J is a member of a longstanding family of veterans.

 

 

 

 

AJBrowndocked by Poinciana palmsIMG_1572

“Docks by Poinciana Palms” by A J Brown

 

 

 

 

Brown often speaks to people who say, they love their Highwaymen piece and are happy they bought it and meets those who regret they didn’t. “I live Highwaymen Art, I love Highwaymen Art because it has no rules; It’s kinda like the Wild Wild West, when there were no laws”, says Brown. Brown speaks from experience as she recalls growing up as an active part of the Civil Rights Movement as a time of inequality, ” for me as female, it still exists. Growing up during segregated times, night time didn’t catch you out or across the tracks in neighborhoods; beaten, arrested or worse would be your fate. Tradition among the Highwaymen has long been The Originals and the 2nd Gen. I am 2nd Generation. I strive for freedom of speech; promote respecting each other and asking that others respect us, equality for each member; unity for the Highwaymen; we are a group; we are also individuals trying to earn a living”.

 

 

 

AJBrownIMG_4449

 

Hall of Fame Original Florida Highwaymen Artist Johnny Lee Daniels painted 40 years when his life ended May 26, 2009. Daniels mentored The next 2nd Generation Historic group of five. A J Brown was authorized to construct his grave-site monument at Pine Grove Cemetery in Fort Pierce, Florida. 1000 block avenue L section 2-N.

 

 

 

“In the 1950’s Highwaymen paintings captured the raw mystique of Florida: Swaying Palms, Royal Poincianas, backcountry wet marshes and woodlands, with moonlit skies and waterscapes. Discover this nostalgic art brand. A traditional part of America’s history is an investment collected by thousands since the 50’s. Future generations may share the same experiences as the generation before them. Collect the art of all the Generations”!

 

 

Relaying more history, AJ says, “In May, 2009 the Highwaymen established the first historical 501c3 to open a museum, electing the first President MaryAnn Carroll. I was honored to be  officially appointed and authorized to perform the duties of the Secretary. The group was Florida Highwaymen Artist and History Center, Inc. During meetings the Highwaymen acknowledged and agreed on blood and non-blood artists to continue their traditions. Artists painting before 2009 and the establishments of both 501c3’s were included. The 2nd Generation wishes to pass it on and acknowledge their 3rd & 4th Gen, including Jalisa R Broughton, known as Salsa, age ten”. A collection of her paintings is archived by A J Brown, her grandmother, dating back to 2009.

 

 

 

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“Tangerine Skies” by A J Brown

 

 

 

 

“The Florida we grew up in is the Florida they painted and now we paint. Each generation holds an important specific role for their era and is of great relevance to the other. Distinctive expressions of the Deep South were painted by this unlikely group of African Americans.  I persevere to exist.. to eat from my art. I am female, African American and one person, in America and in this group. I am grassroots. I strive to bring about change and awareness so others see my true representation. Our paintings, our history, our Florida, through our eyes; worthy of significant recognitions for our hard work to open doors for extraordinary earnings that would sustain our livelihoods and honors our place in time; in history, so both generations can finally enjoy the fruits of our labor. Both generations are recognized, valued for our art; honored for our history; our endurance, and unity, crossing barriers of all times”, AJ states.

 

 

For more information please contact:
A J Brown 2nd Generation
Highwaymen Artist
ajbartist@yahoo.com
(772) 882-0446

 

 

For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291

Rickie Leiter Presents “Marketing Smarts for the Arts” A Small Group Discussion At Mandel Public Library

Rickie Leiter, publisher of The Rickie Report will offer a small group discussion focusing on marketing strategies for artists at the Mandel Public Library in West Palm Beach on Monday, November 10th.   This event is open to all artists who are interested in moving ahead in their careers.  More details are in this article.

 

 

 

 

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The Rickie Report

 

Presents:

An Intimate Group Seminar with

Rickie Leiter

 

 

“Marketing Smarts for the Arts”

 

  at  the

Mandel Public Library

 

Monday, November 10th

9:30 am – 12:00 Noon

 

411 Clematis Street        W.Palm Beach, FL

 

$25.00 Registration includes:

Seminar, Refreshments, Private Tour of “Star Spangled Heroes” exhibit at the library and a unique Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Mandel Public Library.

 

 

This is an opportunity for artists to brainstorm and network in an informal setting with a small, intimate group of like-minded creatives under the guidance of Rickie Leiter, publisher of The Rickie Report.  Rickie has been helping artists and crafters move from being hobbyists and emerging artists to selling their artwork in galleries and exhibitions around the country.  An advocate for artists, she understands the importance of networking and marketing to bring awareness and education to art lovers and art patrons.

 

Rickie will offer “Marketing Smarts for the Arts” in a small, intimate setting at the Mandel Public Library in West Palm Beach on Monday, November 10th.  The seminar  includes discussion specific to the needs of the attendees, refreshments, a private tour of “Star Spangled Heroes” exhibit and a unique behind-the-scenes tour of the Mandel Public Library.

 

The cost of the event is $25.00 and the number of registrants is limited.  attendees must pre-register by November 4th.  Send your check, payable to The Rickie Report and registration form to  PO Box 33423  Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420.  For more information please email rickie @therickiereport.com or call 561-537-0291.  Please note:  This information will NOT be shared.  PLEASE PRINT

 

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For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420

Rickie@therickiereport.com

561-537-0291