Spirit Form - Bronze at Freedom Corner
Freedom Corner - Spirit Form
Freedom Corner - Detail
Freedom Corner - Stone of Origin
Freedom Corner - Prayer Circle
Freedom Corner - Freedom Marcher's Ring
Freedom Corner - Negative Ring - Birmingham
James McCoy, Frankie Pace and the Lower Hill - Proposed Kiosk
Clark at Elm Street 1957
Nomads in a Caravan
In My Sanctuary
Mother and the URA
53 1/2 Crawford Street
Lee's Floral Shop
At Freedom Corner
The Spirit Form
I am best known for designing Pittsburgh’s Freedom Corner Monument and sculpting the iconic art gracing it. My art is social realism inspired by the selective destruction of Pittsburgh’s Lower Hill District. The childhood experience shaped my artistic vision. That single societal event of the mid-‘50s, all for the sake of one civic auditorium displaced 8000 mostly black families before leveling the entire neighborhood. While I address the loss and its aftermath, my art is not a characterization of the Hill District as such.
Following a near-fatal head injury from a bicycling accident, I pondered mortality. Having left the Hill District in 1970, I returned with a camera and sketchpad in hand. Overlooking the Civic Arena from Crawford Street, I thought about the Lower Hill, disregarded, as black history tends to be. Crawford Street, already in the throes of demolition, particularly adjoined with Tannehill Street and Wylie Avenue, consequences from rioting and ten years of calculated neglect showed on the downtrodden neighborhood. Being fatalistic, I preferred visiting the decrepit places that bulged or leaned to one side or another. At times, grief outweighed any desire to make a sketch or photograph.
Collectively, my artwork is a personal diary that resonates that tone of thought. Disclosing my feelings through images is an addiction. My introverted nature cannot express the troubling subject in any other way. Nevertheless, the joy of working with any medium is a catalyst—a means to an end. Holding the printed photograph or finished drawing and recognizing it as a statement of my emotions regarding a particular place and time-the feeling is indefinable. When drawing with ink or ballpoint pen, I become the conscious adult telling about my childhood. Like handwriting my life story, viewpoints are intuitive. At times, community-focused, I document place and time, yet at other times, sculpt familial experiences. Deserted structures reflect abandonment and neglect I experienced as a child. Sinuous architectural forms infer vulnerability and the nomadic lifestyle. In my assemblage art, collected objects together with text and photographs become paragraphical landscapes. As tangible evidence, my artwork validates my history, my sense of place, and culture.
Now retired, Mr. Peterson is best known for designing Pittsburgh’s Freedom Corner Monument and sculpting the iconic art that graces it. Before starting his own firm, Carlos F. Peterson Technical Art, Mr. Peterson was an architectural draftsman and award-winning illustrator in the steel engineering industry. In addition to national awards for technical art, he has won juror’s awards in numerous exhibitions throughout Pittsburgh and received purchase awards at the African American National Art Exhibition in Atlanta Georgia.