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Charles Dickson is a divinely inspired, self-taught artist, sculptor, and designer for over 65 years. He was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles to imaginative, working-class parents. His father was a master baker, and his mother was an interior decorator. After watching a neighbor use a penknife to carve and create a wooden toy knife, he became curious about the possibilities of repurposing one material into another. At the age of five, he began whittling wood under the blankets at night, and his mother would find him asleep in the shavings the following day. He carved small pieces of wood creating knives, Tiki heads, and toys. He was also very interested in aircraft and began carving out airplanes and studying books to duplicate different designs.

He became an official artist at 12 years old when he sold his first art piece. After graduating from Fremont High School in Los Angeles, he decided to become a full-time artist. During the time, the Civil Rights and Black Pride Movements inspired his initial and continued work. By age nineteen, Dickson was exhibiting with internationally known mixed media artist John Otterbridge, Noah Purifoy, and Cecil Fergerson. He soon became a Studio Watts Workshop artist-in-residence, going on to lead the Compton Communicative Arts Academy’s Sculptural Workshop, which later became his home-based studio.

Dickson’s public artwork spans decades and can be found throughout Southern California.  He was the first artist commissioned for the Mariposa Metro Green-Line Station.  From the custom-designed benches in the seating area, to the reliefs on the walls and the pyramid capturing the sun at a certain time of day, the station says Charles Dickson was here.  “Wishing on a Star”, a ten-foot futuristic sculpture of repurposed materials proudly anchors the front of the California African American Museum in Los Angeles. Charles has also worked with the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, Offices of the Trust of Public Land LA River Center, Empowerment Congress, Annenberg Foundation with Friends of the Watts Towers and Destination Crenshaw to create sculptures within the community.


Dickson’s sculpture for the “Destination Crenshaw” project, scheduled to be unveiled in Los Angeles, CA in Fall 2023 is, by far, his largest public art statement. Titled “Car Culture”, it stands more than twenty-feet high and has fiber optic cables woven in on the top.  Created out of stainless steel, three African “Senufo” statues that stand “back to back forming a tripod, with car figures displayed as the collective crown. The shiny metal statues are a statement of belonging. They will welcome the public entering the apex of Black culture in the city, Leimert Park. 

Exposing the world to the cultural significance, beauty, and gifts of people of African descent is Dickson’s purpose. His work with Black Nudes was the precursor for a much larger artistic dialogue on the politics of beauty and how the consequences of slavery reverberated in contemporary society that has extended throughout his entire career. This dialogue propelled him to immerse himself in the artistic heritage of Africa, searching for the language, tools, and symbols to recreate and recover the enormous spiritual influence and indigenous beauty reflecting the unique circumstances of the African American experience that traces back to its African origins.

His creative process is based on an expansive, multi-material practice and desire to impart life into inanimate objects. He works with wood, concrete, metal, bronze, glass, acrylic, and more. If a material is not malleable, he invents his own tools and techniques to shape it. His work reflects the “Oneness” of the universe – that we are all One, part of One creation.

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For information and inquiries about college lectures, museum shows and gallery exhibitions, please contact:
Amber Witcher, Business Manager
Stella the Poet, Publicist

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© 2022 by The Dickson Studio. Created by Kase Qtr.

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