Minnie Eva Jones was born on December 12, 1892 in a cabin in Long Creek, North Carolina. She was taken and raised by her grandmother in Wilmington, North Carolina because her single mother could not afford to take care of her. The history of Minnie’s family is full of strong women, such as her ancestor Moni. Moni was a slave in Trinidad before she fled and found her way to Wilmington, where many of minnie’s relatives still reside.
She started using pencil and wax on paper for her beginning works and she later worked with oil paints and mixed media collages. She usually used nature and religion as her subject matter. Many of Minnie’s works were inspired by visions and dreams that she had when she was a young girl. Her other influences included African, Caribbean, East India, Chinese, and Western cultures.
Since she held the position as gatekeeper at the Airlie Gardens, she often used the gardens as her inspiration in her work to depict nature scenes. Started selling her work at the gardens by hanging them on the front gate. As visitors started purchasing her works she became known throughout the south and visitors started coming just to see her work.
As she started to gain notoriety she met Nina Howell Starr in 1962, who publicized her work for the next 25 years. Howell advised Evans to raise her prices on her artwork (since she was currently selling all pieces for 50 cents a piece) and launched Minnie’s career by selling her artwork in NYC. Today she is remembered as a southern folk artist, surrealist, and visionary artist.