The Colorful Apocalypse is a poetic written documentary that can be read in one sitting. The outer layer of the book is Greg Bottoms’s portrait of three “outsider” artists: Howard Finster, William Thomas Thompson and Norbert Kox. These men are not quaint, folksy artists painting barns on old milk cans. Each is a biblical literalist; each has visions of the world’s end.
Bottoms’s main tool is the interview. Finster was dead before Bottoms visited Finster’s Paradise Gardens museum, but his daughter Beverly and several hangers-on were still around. Thompson was very much alive, and Bottoms had no trouble perching on the precarious balance between gallery staff who think Thompson a genius and friends and family who fear he might be crazy. Bottoms also spent considerable time with Kox, a former Outlaw biker gang member who has collaborated with Thompson.