Charlie Lucas


Charlie Lucas is a self-taught artist whose sculptures and paintings he calls “recycling” but are truly creations in his search for meaning in his life; and especially a deeper meaning in his roots.  Born in 1951, he has spent most of his life in rural Alabama.  Due to poor circumstances and undiagnosed dyslexia, he went to school only thru the fourth grade.  However, his father was a mechanic and his grandfather a blacksmith, so he became skilled, particularly in welding.  He left home at age fourteen making his way with odd jobs and lived in Florida for a while.  At age twenty, he returned home, bought a piece of ground in Pink Lily and built a house.

Charlie had a severe accident in 1984 that left him rather disabled.  During this period in which he says he prayed for meaning for his life and came to know that he was to make art.  Charlie had made toys for children when he was only a child himself so after recovering enough to work; he began making new toys which evolved to become extraordinary sculptures.  These found object assemblages represent animals and people, often members of his extended family and references to his heritage.  It seems everything has a useful place in Charlie’s world.  Old car hoods have been incised for figurative studies.  A broken hub cap has its face covered with utensils and twine to create an image.  Bike wheels, gears, spokes, chains and odd strips and bands of metal are combined into a family portrait with references to their spiritual connectivity.  He is surrounded by art as his home is an environment where his largest sculptures share their space with his grazing cows.  Charlie is an especially sensitive man but rarely speaks of the difficulties of his life instead he focuses on his drive to create meaningful art which he hopes will be appreciated.  Still, those rough and bold sculptures cannot hide their tender inner known for his sculpture, Charlie also creates paintings on everything from canvas to odd pieces of wood.  These colorful semi-abstractions often convey similar messages as his three dimensional work but may evoke pre-historical themes or even other world imagery.  Charlie Lucas is one of the best of the southern black self-taught artists who have gained international reputations in the art world.  He is widely collected and included in a large number of museum collections.