if henry had been rich, they might have called him "eccentric"; but since he was poor, he was "crazy." he was a chicago naitive who spent most of his childhood in an assylum for "peculiar" children in central illinois- but, at the age of 17 he escaped and walked the 162 miles back to his home town where he got a job as a janitor at a catholic hospital. he held this job for most of the remainder of his life. he rarely spoke to anyone and his only "friends" were his landlord and neighbor. when henry died at the age of 80, his landlord discovered a hidden life's work in henry's apartment: a 15,000 page, 12 volume, single-spaced, typewritten epic entitled The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, as caused by the Child Slave Rebellion (pictured below as found). to accompany the epic, henry had painted hundreds upon hundreds of colorful paintings, collages and prints, some over ten feet long, that depict the strange world henry lived in.
his primary themes revolve around justice, faith, innocence, sensuality and heroism; yet offer an awkwardness that unsettles the viewer just enough to at once invite and repulse. for more of his paintings go here and here. view the documentary of his life and work if you get a chance.