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Watts Towers

7511 Halldale Ave 
 L.A.  CA 90047         

"I would hope that the future affords me the opportunity to continue to make fine art works and animated films that give the audience a view black folks that uplifts the human spirit.  I have published some of my stories as illustrated books. A true artist be him/her a musician, writer or artist is a story teller. The ability to engage the audience in an emotional experience rests in an artist’s ability to create a work so passionate as to move one’s heart from joy to tears by capturing various facets of the human experience.

There is no clear-cut line between fine art, murals mosaics, sculpture and animation what I say in one medium I say in all mediums.   Eloquence in style and technique coupled with beautiful story is everything.


My artwork transcends the optical limitations of this world with images of dignity that reflect the cultural diversity of African people in a modern, traditional and even cosmic context.  I paint stories afro-Centric tales of love and loss on this physical and on the spiritual plane Parables with universal themes that reflect a spirit of hope and perseverance.


My colors are vivid and intoxicating.  Colors are vital elements of my storytelling palette.   As we view blue-black folks rising from the earth and deep sea dwellings where warriors reign, we remember that water indeed washes away a multitude of sins of false perceptions.


My art works are populated with big afros and children dancing, lovers and Atlantean warriors, Angeles, black butterflies, women with attitudes and the pulsating rhythm of drums, strong men and sister-friends.  My stories are filled with love, beauty and sacred totems.  My vision is one of hope and of cultural victory.  I depict in my work the undying intent of the spirit.  The coiled inevitability of evolution.  Growth.  That which we were before we were that.  Some call it potential I call it destiny.


When I reflect back on my childhood, I realized that I had not experienced many positive images of blacks or of Africans of the Diaspora.  It occurred to me that the motivating thrust of my ambition was to create images of dignity. To go beyond the African American experience and put it in full spectrum by exploring our cultural legacies, our optimistic imagination and our spiritual visions of self. Although my images are of African people my thematic concepts are universal in that they portray elements of the human experience that exist in all cultures and races Transcending color transcending time and aimed at the hearts of human kind.


My goals as an artist/independent animator are to continue to bring to the world an alternative vision of black peoples.  I intend to do this by creating stories that exist in a single picture or a stream of thought expressed in several pictures or an animated film.  I make Films that have universal appeal that transcend color national borders and touch the human spirit and reveal our commonality.  No matter what cultural race or creed, we all want the best for our loved ones and that is what all people have in common."     Carlos Spivey


I am a second generation Angeleno.  Our family has been here since 1895. I have been drawing since I was a little boy, but I didn’t consider myself an artist until 1979.   I received my BA in fine arts from UCLA in 1981.  I later attended Graduate school at UCLA as well and received an MFA in Film/Animation in 1992.  I have completed several animated films which include the following: One traditional cell animation that won numerous awards entitled, "Mama Seed Tree”; one clay-mation entitled, "The World is a Drum"  and two motion graphic films,  "Whisper" and  "Time Machine"  which can be viewed on You Tube.  "The World is a Drum" received a grant from the Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department.  My films have been screened nationally and internationally in various arts festivals around the world including Italy, Spain, Australia, Ghana and Uganda.

 I continue to evolve as an artist, seeing the past as the foundation of the present artistic endeavors that I am involved with.  Post graduate work meant having life experiences that developed within me a deeper understanding of human relationships and emotions.  My life experiences rounded out my arts education and enriched my work in ways I had never dreamt, for instance I couldn’t paint two people in love until I had been in love.  My student work of still life’s and emotionless charters gave way to characters burning with passion and rich with attitude.  Teaching children in the inner city gave me insight that reflects in the expressions and body language of the child characters that I draw. Animation made me a better illustrator taught me the language of pose conveying emotion through the eyes. I also gained, developed a more accurate ability to render the human anatomy.  Animation made me pay attention to detail and harnessed this restless meticulousness in me. 


I work in the mediums of oils, pastels, acrylic, graphite, water color, mosaics, sculpture and stained glass,.  Painting and drawing gave way to illustrative mosaic work.  In this instance I use ceramic tile to literally render the image.  Most of my mosaic works are portraits or full body images of beautiful black people. As I became curious about the fabrication of tile I started working with ceramics,  making masks at first and then my own tile familiarizing myself with the entire clay process from hand building to bisking to glazing and firing.  I have since made many masks relief sculptures that incorporate mosaic with hand built items.  I have completed several Stained glass pieces and intend to do more but currently I have started to make quilts. There is no clear-cut line between fine art, murals mosaics, sculpture and animation what I say in one medium I say in all mediums.   Eloquence in style and technique coupled with beautiful story is everything.


I have been an artist in residence at the Watts Towers Arts Center Campus since 2010 In our studio garden we have a turtle pond containing some 24 red eared sliders.  In this capacity  I completed the mosaic tile for the inner walls of the turtle pond.   I designed, fabricated and installed the geometrically designed mosaics I also hand built, fired and glazed approximately 50 turtles, lizards and frogs that adorn the walls.  I wanted to continue the turtle theme at Serinity Park as a way to connect these two sites which are within a 1/4 mile of each other.


In 2014 I was commissioned by the California Trust for Public Land to create the public art for a new  park in Watts called Serenity Park. The park was completed in January of 2015 I was responsible for the design, fabrication and installation of the 5 mosaics  in the following dimensions: two of the mosaics are 1' x 8' and illustrative in nature, two 24" diameter tables, and one 2' x 9' donor tile panel

The two 1' x 8' illustrative panels  depict caricatures of a turtle familiy.  The first panel shows turtles walking to the park wearing cowboy hats and carrying various park related items.  The second mosaic shows another family of turtles at the park being festive, playing music, eating, barbequing and playing soccer.  The 24" diameter tables are depictions of tea party table settings.  The final 2' x 9' floor panel gives credit to the organizations that generously contributed funding to make this park possible.

 In 2015 I designed 6 of 12 figures for the Watts Median Monument which celebrates the people of Los Angeles.  The 12 foot silhouettes were fabricated from Steel  and appear in a median in Watts.

This same year I was also part of a team of artists who designed several way finding poles to alert pedestrians to land marks and tourist destinations in the City of Watts.  We designed the poles and I created Photoshop mock up of the poles for the engineers.


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