"Tin Man is a frustratingly missed opportunity. Divided into two major sections, the book consists of an as-told-to autobiography of artist Charlie Lucas (based on interviews with journalist Ben Windham) and a portfolio of his works. Narrated by Lucas, a southern, African American, self-taught artist, the autobiography emphasizes tales of hardship and deprivation from his childhood through his early adulthood. Curiously absent is any reference by Lucas to the fraught ways in which he experienced the politics and economics of the contemporary art world. Lucas's observations on his work are few and opaque. The even fewer editorial interventions simply gesture at mainstream Western artists like Alexander Calder and William Blake. The absence of an introduction that could have provided context for Lucas's recollections and explained the larger purpose of this book renders the overall narrative largely inaccessible except to the author and his circle. The gallery of works constituting the second half of Charlie Lucas is even more problematic. Works are identified by name only, with no reference to date, medium, scale, or provenance--omissions that render the images of little value for readers interested in Lucas's art. Summing Up: Not recommended."
“[Tin Man is] a highly readable and gloriously beautiful book that provides the next best experience to seeing the works at Lucas's home in Pink Lily. Tin Man will be treasured by fans of folk art, but anyone with an interest in Alabama culture and the social and economic conditions that have produced numerous nationally known self-taught artists will find it rewarding.”The Alabama Review
"Charlie Lucas's sculptures are like kudzu: they remold the silhouette of an object, casting it in a different light. His subjects are the African mask, the slave, chains from the past, and the industrial future. His totem-like figures trace Alabama's Native American culture though the blood-baths and bloodstreams, wrought and welded in iron and steel. His junkyard complex comprising acres of rusting machine bits, sculptures, and the occasional grazing cow, is as terrifying as it is beautiful, and it reminds us what happens to man and his inventions when nature has 'had enough.'"—NALL
“This Art-with-a-capital-A book is an astutely synchronized compilation of as-told-to autobiography that often reads like music sounds, and brilliant images that look as if they might leap off the pages. In fifteen triumphant chapters, Ben Windham has corralled the essence of wit and wisdom, creative energy, and life-experience of internationally known folk artist Charlie Lucas.”—Julia Oliver for Alabama Writers Forum