Charlie Lucas has attracted a large following and his work has been included in numerous exhibitions and museum collections.
In recent years, he has been an invited lecturer at Yale University and spent time as an artist-in-residence in France. Lucas still lives and works in Prattville, Ala., in a house he built himself.
An accident in 1984 resulted in back injuries that forced Lucas to give up his employment as a building maintenance man. While recovering from back surgery, he asked God to help him find something to do that no one else could do. Then he began working in metal.
As an adolescent, he had worked as a farm machinery operator and had learned repair and welding skills on that heavy equipment. When he became tired of constantly receiving misdirected mail at his address, Charlie conceived the idea of creating a mailbox from the scrap metal parts that were plentiful around his home. The resulting metal figure with a mail receptacle tucked under his arm solved the problem and the postman had no more trouble identifying the Lucas’ home. As a result, Lucas is known by many in folk art community as the "Tin Man."
Although he has no formal art training, Lucas' sculptural work clearly combines skills he learned from observing his grandfather's mechanical and automotive repair techniques, his grandmother's basket-weaving, and his great-grandfather's blacksmithing.
In addition to creating three-dimensional sculpture, Lucas also paints. As in his sculpture, humor is frequently the underlying theme of his colorful paintings which combine realistic and quasi-abstract elements.
Bio from Cargo Folk Art Gallery