Zócalo AIR 2020 Semi-Finalist
Charles Washington is an environmental public artist who was born in the Carolinas and is a descendant of the Gullah people. He attended Delaware State College, where he studied Art Education and the fine arts. After living in New York, he moved to Houston, TX in the late 80s and has lived and worked here for over 30 years.
Washington is best known as a mixed-media environmental artist whose wide range of techniques and materials defy a single definition. His body of works include recycled and functional installations such as large and small scale public art sculptures and one-of-a-kind art cars made around themes of African pastoral, American Jazz, and free-form design.
For Washington, his work is an ode to his connection to cultural, historical, musical, and current subjects while also exploring the concept of biomimicry within his work. Over the last three years, he has created art venues that use the natural space as is and incorporates artistic mediums within them. He seeks natural nooks and crannies to create chances for whimsical innovation and to bring messages, color, and vibrancy to public spaces.
Washington coins himself an environmental artist as he recycles and upcycles materials and utilizes discarded objects to create his work in a sustainable way. He chooses to innovate with the materials available around him.
"To me, this is connected to my history. When we didn't have, we still thrived, ate, and built. Through what was extreme adversity, we still created what we needed out of anything we could get our hands on." - Charles Washington
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"As an environmental artist, I recycle materials as a reminder of human kinds' responsibility to the environment and my own life experiences of evolution and change. I see my life as a large canvas of opportunity, so each day, I create a masterpiece. My art expresses my feelings about life and the world around me." - Charles Washington