Archie ByronAmy Culberg
Archie Byron was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1928. When he was young, he met Martin Luther King, Jr. who he later marched with in the civil rights rallies. He left high school to fight in World War II in Japan. When he returned home from WWII, he enrolled in a vocational school where he learned brick masonry and architectural drawing. He worked for a bricklayer and during this time created creative and original designs in his own work. In 1961, he was the first Afircan American to establish a private investigation firm. In the early seventies, Byron established many small businesses; one of which was a gun repair shop and the other a security guard training school. In the 1980s, he served on the Atlanta City Council. Being a bricklayer, Archie Byron knew how to mix compounds. One day, when throwing out materials from the gun repair shop, he decided to recycle the materials and find a use for them. He mixed sawdust, glue and water and spread it onto a board. With his fingers and a putty knife, he shaped the thick mixture into forms. After the sawdust was dried and thus hardened, Archie Byron painted on an image with an airbrush to give the painting more definition. He only used regular house paint to color it. In this way, Byron is a great example of a folk artist in using found materials because he sees the possibilties in them. One can infer from his images of poverty and unity and faces and many other images that one of the things Byron wishes to show us is poverty and unity. In this way, we can also look into the pictures for Byron's beliefs. Once you see his work, you can recognize the sawdust man anywhere.