Two unconventional folk artists will present their work at the Red Piano Too Art Gallery's Summer Showcase on Aug. 9.
One paints doors because God told her to.
The other is in demand for his offbeat chicken paintings.
"Missionary" Mary Proctor and Ernest Lee, known locally as "The Chicken Man," are the gallery's featured artists.
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Both are regulars at Red Piano Too, said owner Mary Mack.
"I always try to feature a well-known folk artist at the Summer Showcase," she said. "Mary has a religious theme in her work, which I find interesting, and Ernest is a South Carolina icon. His work is whimsical."
Proctor began painting after three of her family members died in a house fire. While she battled depression caused by the tragedy, God spoke to her in a dream and told her to paint doors, she said.
Soon, the Tallahassee, Fla., native was painting everything she could find, collecting items from flea markets and junkyards. She uses just about anything in her paintings, from silverware to cut-up dollar bills, giving her pieces a three-dimensional effect.
Her works are inspired by Bible Scripture as well as memories of her grandmother. Most include written messages of spiritual truths or life lessons.
"It's therapy for me as well as art," Proctor said. "Every day I make something, I feel better about myself."
Lee's path to painting was more playful.
The Edgefield native had been painting most of his life, but it wasn't until a friend suggested he try to paint a chicken that he found his niche.
"Ain't nobody gonna buy a painting of a chicken," Lee said at the time.
Twenty thousand chicken paintings later, Lee is arguably the most well-known folk artist in the state, or at least in Columbia, where the birds are often taken as University of South Carolina Gamecocks.
The fame surprised Lee, but he said he's gotten used to being known as "The Chicken Man."
"It's a good feeling to be able to make a living doing something you love to do," he said.
Lee mostly sells his acrylic-on-wood paintings out of a mobile trailer, although he has recently acquired studio space in downtown Columbia. The colorful chicken renditions are his best sellers, but that's not all he paints.
"I do portraits, animals, landscapes. I can do a variety," Lee said. "I consider myself more of a pop artist than a folk artist, because I'm always popping in and out of different things."
Follow reporter Erin Shaw at twitter.com/IPBG_ErinShaw.