JAMES A. "BUDDY" SNIPES James A. "Buddy" Snipes Main < BACK

The youngest of twelve children, James A. "Buddy" Snipes was born on October 30, 1943 in Macon County, Alabama. Being sickly as a child he, "never went to no doctor, 'cause they wasn't no money to pay 'em with." Buddy went to school sporadically for three or four years before leaving school altogether. "And any toys we had, I made them."

As he grew older, he began to get laborer jobs, such as a pulp-woodman, logger, as a farmhand, dishwasher and repairman. He fixed broken furniture; sagging doors and he built fences. "I made wagons and wheelbarrows, too," he says. He made them out of tree limbs and scrap lumber to sell to his neighbors. He began making art work from found objects such as roots, limbs, vines, scrap lumber, signs, tobacco cans, snuff jars, mirrors, horse collars, horseshoes and cold cream jars, whatever he finds that captures his imagination. That never-ending need to "tinker" and to keep happy memories alive by passing along stories through his creations has also been a reliable source of income for Buddy. "I sees something," says Buddy, "and it just comes to me, and I goes and makes it. Everybody has talents; God puts this in my head and I does it."

Buddy has lived off the earnings from his artwork for many years. He states, "If a man has got an education he can get a good job. Somebody without any . . . all of the jobs I used to get . . . they are gone now. So I hafta do what I can to survive. I'm just gonna keep on making things."

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