I watched the documentary A Man Named Pearl the other day and was just so charmed, I had to share. The film profiles Pearl Fryar, a self-taught topiary artist in rural South Carolina. The story goes that the Fryars tried to buy a house in a white neighborhood when they first moved to town, but the real estate agent was informed by neighbors that the family wouldn’t be welcomed, using the excuse that black home-owners “don’t keep up their yards.” The Fryars eventually settled in a black neighborhood, and Pearl vowed to turn his yard into the most impressive in town. He went on to win the local Yard of the Month award, and eventually gained national attention from tourists and art critics for his work.
I loved the portrait of an artist as a person who’s simply compelled to create, regardless of the challenges or obstacles in front of him. Pearl taught himself, little by little, how to translate the ideas in his head into living sculptures, and devotes himself completely to creating something beautiful and inspiring to visitors to the garden.
I have to look into it more, but I’m hoping we may be able to visit Pearl’s garden on our trip to Georgia in a couple weeks. According to his website, winter is Pearl’s favorite time to visit anyway because the green topiaries stand out against the brown brush.
A Man Named Pearl is available on Netflix!