March 02, 2017
By Cora Jackson-Fossett
African American artist Carlos Spivey displays his amazing command of multimedia in his “Power of Love” exhibit at the Watts Towers Arts Center.
His creative works, which encompass the breadth of the art form, range from silk screens to oils to mosaics to stained glass.
Among the highlights of his collection is a bright and vibrant covering entitled “From Rags to Riches,” a colorful quilt that Spivey designed, sewed and topped-off with a hand-painted an image of a man with a guitar.
Another arresting piece is “Warrior Woman” where Spivey assembled his own hand-built ceramic tile into a shape of a powerful female.
A self-described “onyx ancient futurist,” Spivey said, “Sometimes people see my work and they think that I’m going back in time, but actually I’m going into the future. We embrace who we are and love who we are and we incorporate parts of our indigenous culture and harmony with the environment.”
The Black Pride movement of the 1970s influenced Spivey’s approach to art. As a teen during that era, he studied African cultures and learned more about the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. His increasing knowledge contradicted the negative images of blacks that he saw on television and in movies as a child.
“I watched a lot of Tarzan films where the way black people were depicted in the media made me not feel good about being black. Our image had been distorted – full lips were bad, big hips were bad, dark skin was put down, our hair texture was bad. The Black Power movement made everybody proud to be black, loving who we are,” recalled Spivey.
“Most of my audience is African American and what they want is see themselves depicted in a way that made them proud and feel good about themselves. I’ve been carrying out that legacy and why I started doing art.
Inviting the public to view his exhibit, Spivey added, “My collection is uplifting, positive, colors are vibrant and most people, when they see the show, actually leave feeling good.”
Spivey’s exhibit continues until March 5 at the Watts Towers Arts Center, 1727 E. 107th St., in Los Angeles. The gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more, call (213) 847-4646.