The Highwaymen Murals: Al Black's Concrete Dreams

Overview

"In 1960, a group of self-trained African American painters, led by Alfred Hair and Harold Newton, produced an astonishing number of landscapes. Eventually known as the Highwaymen because they sold their works to people out of the trunks of their cars rather than from an indoor gallery, they worked with materials at hand, often painting on Masonite. They worked quickly, creating bold images that depicted a faraway place of windswept palms, billowing clouds, placid wetlands, and lush sunsets." "As demand soared, Al Black (b. 1946) emerged as a
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Overview

"In 1960, a group of self-trained African American painters, led by Alfred Hair and Harold Newton, produced an astonishing number of landscapes. Eventually known as the Highwaymen because they sold their works to people out of the trunks of their cars rather than from an indoor gallery, they worked with materials at hand, often painting on Masonite. They worked quickly, creating bold images that depicted a faraway place of windswept palms, billowing clouds, placid wetlands, and lush sunsets." "As demand soared, Al Black (b. 1946) emerged as a salesman par excellence. Often earning 35 percent commission, he was discouraged from creating his own paintings. But gradually he learned, partly from repairing damaged works that had been loaded into his car while still wet." "But in the 1980s, the party came to an end. New Florida was uninterested in pastoral scences. Sales dried to a trickle too small to support anyone, let alone a man who had recently become addicted to crack cocaine. In 1997, Al Black was found guilty of fraud and possession of drugs. Inroncially, this low point marked the beginning of Black's most productive period as a painter - a decade spent in correctional facilities." While in the Central Florida Reception Center, "Inmate Black" was recognized as painter "Al Black" after the warden read a story by St. Petersburg Times columnist Jeff Klinkenberg about the Highwaymen. Soon, with the warden's encouragement and permission, Black was painting murals throughout the prison, classic Highwaymen landscapes in unexpected venues. When he left CFRC in 2006, Black had created more than 100 murals for the Department of Corrections.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813033594
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 4/26/2009
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Monroe, professor of fine arts and photography at Daytona State College, is the author of The Highwaymen (see below), Harold Newton: The Original Highwayman, and Silver Springs: The Underwater Photography of Bruce Mozert.

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