On this day in Alabama history: Artist Charlie Lucas was born

On this day in Alabama history: Artist Charlie Lucas was born
Charlie Lucas makes his art at his workshop in Pink Lily from materials that others have discarded. (The George F. Landegger Collection of Alabama Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

October 12, 1951

Charlie Lucas, who has become known as “Tin Man,” first experimented with scraps of iron and steel, creating meaning from piles of junk and cast-off raw materials. He welds, twists and bolts the pieces together to create art that tells a story. Lucas is often named among the group of self-taught artists who create “outsider art.” These artists share a lack of formal training and a focus on their immediate surroundings, experiences and inner visions. Lucas was born in Birmingham on Oct. 12, 1951, and raised in rural Elmore County north of Montgomery. Lucas’ great-grandfather Cain Jackson introduced him to metalworking as a youngster, allowing him to use Jackson’s tools and materials to make small pieces. But it was not until Lucas suffered a severe back injury in 1984 that he turned to art full time. Following surgery, he was unable to work and asked God to give him a skill that no one else had. That led him to return to the metalworking he learned in his great-grandfather’s blacksmith shop.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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