Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Birmingham’s ‘Tin Man’ to host team art build

Charlie Lucas, an Alabamian artist, will spend two days making presentations and hosting activities on campus this week, showcasing his internationally acclaimed work and the process he uses to create it.

Lucas is anything but a typical modern artist, though. The Birmingham native has a case of dyslexia so severe it has left him functionally illiterate and was never formally trained in the craft. In fact, an injury may be the only reason the world has seen his work. Lucas painted houses until he hurt his back and decided to begin creating his own artwork.

When he creates art, Lucas channels his inner child which he calls the Tin Man and makes pieces out of scrap metal and items many would consider junk. In 2011, he received the distinction of being one of Alabama’s “Living Legends” for his contribution to national and Alabama culture.

Kelly Konrad, a sophomore majoring in French and New College, was the event’s project communicator for Creative Campus.

“I had met Charlie Lucas this summer and toured his Selma studio with the Honors College,” Konrad said. “I was really inspired by him and his unique story, and I wanted to bring that story to UA.”

Konrad, who pitched the idea of Lucas’s visit to Creative Campus in August, said Lucas’s art is meant to convey the “ugly and unpredictable moments of life,” while still making the best of it. His whimsical pieces capture the joy life has, even at its darker moments.

Each piece of Lucas’s art also tells a story, a result of Lucas’s concentration on heritage, family and ancestry. These pieces have brought Lucas national and international acclaim.

Michelle Bordner, program director for Creative Campus, encouraged students to participate in one of the events Lucas will host called the Blitz Build.

“17 of 40 available slots have been filled, but there’s still time for students to register,” Bordner said.

The Blitz Build will take place on Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the lobby of the AIME building. Working in teams, students will create their own pieces of art from scrap metal and objects provided by the UA Recycling Center and Environmental Council.

“The Blitz Build [is] designed to demonstrate the collision of the artistic right brain and the engineering left brain,” Konrad said. “It’s targeted toward engineering students and is designed to do what Lucas does when he makes art.”

Teams of the Build must pre-register on Creative Campus’s website and have three or more members. Participants can also participate in “wild card” teams the day of the Build but must still be registered.

On Thursday, Nov. 29, Lucas will be in the lobby of Nott Hall from 9:30 a.m. to noon to informally interact with students. Both events are free and open to any UA students.

For more information about the events and to register for the Blitz Build, go to


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