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Anderson Johnson was born in Lunenburg County, VA in 1915. He became a street preacher at the age of eight after receiving a message from God, and spent most of his life preaching in churches and on street corners throughout America.

When he fell ill in the early 1970's he returned to his native Virginia, where he spent more than twenty years transforming his two-story home into a "faith mission" decorated from floor to ceiling with portraits and visionary images. He conducted lively church services to a small gathering of devotees at his Faith Mission every Sunday; these weekly gatherings were impassioned outpourings of religious zeal, with Reverend Johnson preaching, singing, and playing various instruments.

In 1995, the Faith Mission building was condemned and torn down for an urban renewal project, but much of the art and murals from the building were saved. Johnson moved to an apartment, where he continued to adorn any flat surface he could find with housepaint. Reverend Johnson died in 1998. The Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News, Virginia, mounted an exhibition of portions of his Faith Mission environment, entitled Anderson Johnson Revisited, in 1997.

Since his death, the Center has continued to work to preserve aspects of his environment.

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