Byron Sonnier

I come from a Cajun and Catholic family in South Louisiana so I grew up going to church on a regular basis. I’ve always been fascinated by the many icons and symbols used in Catholicism. As I got older and moved away from that environment, I started to notice the symbols and themes used in other religions and some of their commonalities. After moving to Alabama, I became especially interested in the Revival and Holiness movements of the South. That led to my discovery of snake handling and the many controversies and characters involved in that practice. I started to make work based on revival tents, preachers, and snake handlers. While on a trip back home to Louisiana one Fourth of July I noticed that all the fireworks tents looked just like the revival tents I had seen around Alabama. I snapped a bunch of photos and started painting the Black Cat logo which has its origins in China as a symbol of good luck and fortune. This led me to use other forms of cats including panthers and tigers in my work. I eventually began combining symbols and ideas from different religions, cultures, and personal experiences to create my own narrative. Lately that narrative has rambled slightly off the gravel and into the darker woods of Southern Mythology. Weaving modern messages with quirky and sometimes controversial emblems, these recent works are meant to be both eye catching and thought provoking.

Reach me here:


2019  Alabama Contemporary Art Center, Mobile, Al  Urban Wild

2019  Manitou Suppy, Birmingham, Al  New Fashioned Myths

2018  Tiny Space, Richmond, Va  Expanded Belief System

2017  Lowe Mill, Huntsville, Al  Man Is A Wolf To Man

2016  Sanctum, Birmingham, Al  Serpents in Shadows, Carousel of Light

2016  Rojo, Birmingham, Al  The Bear and The Ghost

2012  Art Folk Gallery, Birmingham, Al  Reading The Rails

2012  Eastern Shore Art Center, Fairhope, Al  Visions of Alabama

2012  Art Folk Gallery, Birmingham, Al  Reflections of Food in Alabama Art

2012  Birmingham Museum of Art, Graffiti Installation

2011  Kevin Irwin Studios, Birmingham, Al  Flameworks

2011  Birmingham Museum of Art, Graffiti Installation

2011  Boutwell Studios, Birmingham, Al  Reclamation

2010  Bottletree, Birmingham, Al  The Revivalist, solo show

2010  Birmingham Public Library  Heads Up Alabama

          *collaboration with Janice Kluge

2010  Lite Box Gallery, Birmingham, Al  Everything Must Go

2010  Bare Hands Gallery, Birmingham, Al  Shine 2010

2010  Lite Box Gallery, Birmingham, Al  Glamour Shots

2010  Parkside, Birmingham, Al  Six By Six

2010  Boutwell Studios, Homewood, Al  Sofa Size Paintings

2010  Bare Hands Gallery, Birmingham, Al  Strange Bedfellows

          *collaboration with Tracy Martin

2009  Bare Hands Gallery, Birmingham, Al  Hello My Name Is…The Graffiti Show

2009  Bottletree, Birmingham, Al  Buy Fresh, Buy Local

2009  Rojo, Birmingham, Al  Byron Sonnier & Baxter Wahl

2008  Acadiana Center For The Arts, Lafayette, La  Southern Open 2008

2008  Bare Hands Gallery, Birmingham, Al  Group Show

2008  Rojo, Birmingham, Al  Photo Show

2007  Flying Monkey Arts Center, Huntsville, Al  Lache Pas la Patate, solo photo show