The massive concrete heart near the highway outside Ralph Lanning’s home in Springfield, Missouri, bears the following inscription: ‘If Heaven is half as beautiful as here on Earth, I don’t want to miss it.’ ‘Here’ in Springfield visitors will find a kindly man more than willing to let them wander through his creations of concrete and stone.
Ralph Doss Lanning has been making things most of his life. Yet this humble man, born 87 years ago, just down the road from his present home, does not consider himself an artist.
When Lanning was a baby, just 18 months old, he suffered a terrible head injury that left him lucky to be alive. The accident left his speech impaired by a stutter that caused his parents to keep him home from school until he was nine years old. Not able to read or write when he finally did start his formal education, Lanning first impressed his teachers by drawing a map of the United States. After school, the youngster sold sassafras, rhubarb and blackberries door-to-door; no small feat for a boy with a severe speech impediment.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #44