The King of Houston Yard Art Is Dead

Cleveland Turner in Front of His Home at 2305 Francis St., Third Ward, Houston

Cleveland Turner, a Third Ward resident whose passion for art and junk flowed out of his home, onto his front yard, past the sidewalk, and into a few museum exhibitions, passed away Sunday after a bout with stomach cancer, at the age of 70-something. Known as The Flower Man, Turner’s effusive and eclectic stylings landed him appearances in the CAMH and on TV shows “Roadside America” and “American Dreamers.” A bicycle-riding yard-art pioneer for more than 3 decades, Turner regularly festooned the fronts, sides, backs, and interiors of his own home in the neighborhood — most recently at 2305 Francis St. (above)

Photo: Ed Schipul [license]

15 Comment

  • Rest in peace, Flower Man.

  • What a loss. Condolences to his friends and family.

  • Another Houstonian, who’s quirky outlook enriched the urbanscape.. May you RIP Cleveland Turner..

  • Cleveland used to mow several lawns on my childhood street going back ~30 years ago. He was always riding that bike! What a unique character – I’m glad to have known him.

  • Yes, I’m sure you all would love his “Art” across from your house. I know it would be a big hit in my neighborhood of Southampton, we lack these kind of “characters” to liven up the staid, bucolic, gorgeousness of the area. He’s in the league with the Beer Can House and Orange Show, that have really increased the value of real estate in those areas and I know the people in the area of the Beer Can house just LOVE! It!

  • Mr. Turner often bicycled through the neighborhoods around Rice University. He always said hello and, more often than not, would mention interesting objects that he had seen along the way. Through his artist’s eye, you could glimpse the world anew. Whatever comes after, I hope he is surrounded by beauty.

  • He once was going to take a metal garden sculpture my Mom had laid next to the drive–she knew he wasn’t stealing it, but she explained she wasn’t done with it, he said to let him know when she was done with it. My Mom wondered how on Earth he’d get that heavy thing on his bike, he said he’d manage–lol

  • So thankful NOT to be the neighbor of “Hook ‘Em”. I’d rather live on a street lined with Cleveland Turners than ALL the land in Southhampton. What an ass.

  • In response to Hook em’: There used to be a “folk art” house right across from one of the entrances to Rice University (off Rice Blvd.). When I was a student, coming and going from the university, I always enjoyed seeing what wacky stuff they’d put in their yard. And I love the Beer Can House and the Orange Show too.

    RIP Mr. Flower Man. Your happiness and creativity shall be missed.

  • I had the good luck to run across the flower man’s house years ago. He happened to be outside at the time, and I parked my car to stop to speak to him. He told me all the interesting things he had salvaged for his art, and how people from all over the world, as far away as Germany, had visited his house and praised it. He was beaming with pride, and rightfully so. His house was another one of those undiscovered discoveries in Houston that make this town so special. It was maybe a 5 minute interaction, but I left with my faith in mankind rejuvenated, and a warm feeling that everything was right in the world. It won’t be forgotten. You’ll be missed, flower man.

  • I would love to have some of his “art” across the street from my house. I think it’s fabulous. And might even make some of these 3 story town homes nice to look at.

  • I was fortunate enough to ride behind Mr. Turner in many of the art car parades. He was always so gracious to art car artists (really everyone in particular) and was such a positive, gregarious person. I will miss his smile and his wonderful voice. He was a joy to know.

  • Jesus, must everybody be in lock step on every issue or be pilloried and stoned. It’s ridiculous all the asses on here that think that to disagree or go against the flow is somehow abhorrent. The Flower Man would be the first to say everyone is entitled to their opinion. Calling someone an ass is uncivil and has no place on this thread. You want to disagree fine, but personal attacks have no place on this site. It’s ironic that calling someone an ass actually makes you an ass

  • Yes, I just called myself an ass–lmao

  • I wish people wouldn’t put scare-quotes around the word “art.”