Beauty out of trash

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, April 25, 2013

4-26 CHARLie ARTist photo_web

Charlie Lucas will be a featured artist at TroyFest

Nationally acclaimed folk artist Charlie Lucas has been a featured artist at the Johnson Center for the Arts and now he’s coming to TroyFest.

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Lucas has been making art since he was “knee-high to a grasshopper” but it was not until he suffered a debilitating accident in 1884 that he began to take his art seriously.

He is now recognized nationally and internationally as a great innovator in the field of American folk art.

Lucas is not only an outstanding folk artist; he’s also a very interesting and entertaining storyteller.

“I like to talk about my artwork as much as I like to make it,” said Lucas who makes his art from materials that some might call “trash.” He uses bicycle wheels, shovels, car mufflers, wire, scrap metal “anything that has a shape or can be shaped.”

Whether folks are “into art” or not, Lucas draws a crowd when he exhibits. They come initially to see “is that trash?” They stay to be entertained by a story crafter.

Lucas tells about how, when he was 14 years old, he left home to make his way in the world.

“I left with a box of crackers and a jar of peanut butter,” he said. “Who would have thought that I would ever travel across the ocean and be invited to speak at real important places to real important people?”

Lucas is often invited to lecture about his art in elementary school classrooms and in places of higher learning, including the “hallowed halls” of Yale University.

When Lucas has an audience, he’ll do the talking and let them do the listening.

He’ll invite those who gather around him to pull up a stump and sit a spell while he talks trash.

“Some people don’t think that trash is beautiful, but it is,” Lucas said. “When we take trash and make something out of it that has new energy, it can be beautiful.”

Lucas will be one of 40 artists at TroyFest Saturday and Sunday. The TroyFest committee invites everyone to visit all of the artists’ booths.

Each booth will have something unique and each artist will have a story to tell to those who have a few minutes to spend with a master.