Pittsburgh Artist Registry

Carlos F. Peterson

Carlos F. Peterson

Artistic Category artist
Career Level Professional
Experienced With

My work addresses the loss of place and culture. I don’t consider myself an artist as such, but as a correspondent, addressing the failed 1950s urban renewal policy that for the sake of one civic auditorium displaced 8000 mostly black families from Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill District. Poverty-stricken and unable to move elsewhere, my family remained. I was seven-years-old then, playing in dilapidated buildings not knowing how harmful the experience.

Many years later, I struggled to show the impact of that sad chapter in Pittsburgh’s history, until Dr. Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD, the renowned Professor of Urban Policy and Health, coined the hurtful experience as “Root Shock,” defining it as a traumatic stress reaction to the destruction of all or part of one’s emotional ecosystem.

In retrospect, my experience was no different from many African-Americans across the U.S., bulldozed from homes and businesses under the guise of inner-city renewal. Considering the history of slavery in America, be it from the Middle Passage, racism, gentrification or yesterday’s bad news, upheaval influenced my artistic vision. Almost devoid of people and oftentimes rendered with intimate details and fused with objects and influences related to my life, my artwork is a collective narrative. While I use a variety of materials and processes, the crowding and lopsided objects are not necessarily a reflection of neighborhoods, but the methodology is symbolic of my African–American experience.

Prior to starting his own firm, Carlos F. Peterson Technical Art, Mr. Peterson was an architectural draftsman and award-winning illustrator in the steel engineering industry. Now retired, Mr. Peterson is currently writing a memoir addressing his family's experience with urban redevelopment on Pittsburgh's Lower Hill District. Mr. Peterson’s artwork has been exhibited throughout the Pittsburgh area. He has received juror’s awards for his work in numerous local exhibitions and purchase awards for drawing and painting at the Atlanta Life Insurance African American National Art Exhibition in Atlanta Georgia.



Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15202
412 732 9697


  • Drawing
  • Illustration
  • Historic
  • Creative Non-fiction
  • Autobiographical
  • Social Practice / Civic Engagement
  • Photography


  • Assemblage
  • Computer generated
  • Conceptual
  • Black & white
  • Cultural
  • Documentary
  • Pen
  • Biographical
  • Ethnic
  • Figurative
  • Ink
  • Narrative
  • Realist