I met Vernon Spicer last year at the Jerry Brown Art Festival in Hamilton. His medium is…pasta.
If you look closely at my (not great) pic above, you can even pick out the different kinds. While many of us have embellished cigar boxes with macaroni as children, it’s quite different to see it done in a more serious tone — especially with all the history the Edmund Pettus Bridge brings out.
Last week, Al Benn had a piece in the Montgomery Advertiser as part of his ongoing series, Al Benn’s Alabama, and this time Vernon Spicer was the subject.
Asked why and how he came upon the idea, Spicer, 71, is quick to credit a dream — saying it propelled him toward one of Alabama’s most unusual artistic endeavors.
“It woke me up one night,” he said. “In it, I could see something that had a three-dimensional design, one that involved me using sticks to create.”
Audrey Spicer provided the spice to his dream, telling her husband to use pasta to achieve his goal, suggesting that the “sticks” could well have been uncooked spaghetti.
“My most expensive piece was Brown Chapel (AME Church),” he said. “I’ve done two and taken one to art shows but haven’t sold either. I guess it’s because I’m asking $1,800.”
Brown Chapel served as the headquarters for activists who planned their strategy during historic demonstrations that led to passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
“When I get started on one of my paintings, I put the TV on mute and use the light,” he said. “Then, I put on a pot of coffee and head into another world, working through the night.”