Local artist shows exhibit at Hotel Indigo gallery

Local artist shows exhibit at Hotel Indigo gallery
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Hippie busses and license plates line the walls at Hotel Indigo. If you look hard enough, you might even find a busted basketball or a portrait of Ozzy Osbourne. These pieces might not seem like they have anything in common, but they are all part of Scott McQueen’s exhibit at Kentuck’s Hotel Indigo Gallery.

From now until May 21, Hotel Indigo guests and local residents can get a taste of Alabama culture at McQueen’s exhibit. McQueen is a chaplain and folk artist who creates art from objects found right here in Tuscaloosa.

“It gives me satisfaction to take what has been discarded and bring it a new life,” McQueen said. “I like to use something that was going to the junkyard and think that it’s hanging on someone’s wall now.”

McQueen visits old estate sales and finds tool box junk to incorporate into his art. He uses anything from buttons and bottle caps to faucet knobs and license plates. 

No ordinary canvas is used in McQueen’s paintings of busses, owls, rock stars and sailboats. 

“I don’t paint on a canvas and I’ve never painted on a canvas,” McQueen said. “My canvas is barn wood, old reclaimed wood, or tin that came off the roof of a barn.”

McQueen’s exhibit doesn’t have an overall theme as most of the pieces are individual works. However, almost every piece has the influence of auto license plates in it. These license plates and the search for a hobby were what gave McQueen his start as an artist.

“When I first started in 2011, it came on a whim at a time when I was being encouraged to find a hobby,” said McQueen. “I had a stack of license plates that I had used for a project in the house and, with the extras, I thought I could cut them up and create a personalized tag on a board.”

He had a light bulb go off when some friends came by and liked the personalized board. From there, he branched out and started making templates to create objects.

“I like to see a reaction of a smile on a person’s face,” McQueen said. “If there’s someone here in town and they’re staying at Hotel Indigo, I hope that, when they get off the elevator after a long day, my art will put a smile back on their face.”

The program manager at the Kentuck Art Center, Exa Skinner, was the one who reached out to McQueen to have an exhibit at the Hotel Indigo Gallery.

“I thought he was the perfect fit because his art shows the history of the Black Warrior River and the commerce and culture of it,” Skinner said. “Some of his work is central to his style, self-taught and raw, and some of it is more polished; you can tell he’s been working at it longer.”

McQueen is set to be part of an artist talk and opening reception on April 7 before the Druid City Art Festival. 

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