I’m over a month late in writing this post, but South Carolina Artist Charles DeSaussure passed away on the 16th of July 2013. I didn’t have the good fortune of knowing him personally, although I felt like I did because I’ve admired his building murals for years now. I thought that I’d see more of them in the future too – and his passing is a loss to the uniqueness and vibrancy of the South Carolina Lowcountry. His work that I am most familiar with is that of the Ravenel Fresh Seafood building (above) and Martha Lou’s Kitchen (below) -wonderfully rich works of art that grace the Highway 17 corridor.
From the Red Piano Too Art Gallery Press Release (5 August 2013):
Charles, an Air Force veteran, had an easy and open manner. People immediately liked him and wanted to get to know him better. He enjoyed “just chillin’ and meetin’ the folk” as he relaxed on the swing at the gallery. Born in Yemassee, South Carolina, his family moved to President Street in Charleston, where he grew up. Early on Charles was interested in art, the world around him was rich in Gullah culture. The urban influence was emerging in his work with paintings of Juke Joints, musicians, street vendors, sweetgrass gathering, and sweetgrass basket sewers chatting happily in the Charleston market. Almost every painting Charles created in the beginning had the old Cooper River Bridge in the background. Once he told us that he played under the bridge as a boy, marbles, basketball, bike riding, skateboarding, and chasing the little girls with fiddler crabs. In addition to work on canvas and paper, Charles was a skilled sign painter and muralist. His signs and murals are on many buildings throughout the Lowcountry and Washington DC. He painted the signs on the Red Piano Too building. “Ravenel Seafood” on US 17 in Ravenel, South Carolina boasts a mural by Charles. Charles was working on a sign for a business on King Street in Charleston when he became ill, went to the hospital and died.
This is one of the last interviews with lowcountry artist Charles Desaussure – it was shot on location at the Red Piano Too Art Gallery and filmed by Julian Gooding/Outside The Box Media.
More about Charles DeSaussure:
The Red Piano Too Art Gallery – Press Release: Artist Charles DeSaussure Passes (5 August 2013)
Remembering Charleston Artist Charles DeSaussure – Southern Foodways Alliance
In memoriam: Charles Desaussure, local artist and sign painter – Charleston City Paper
The masters of a dying craft continue to leave their mark on Charleston – Charleston City Paper (20 February 2013)
Martha Lou’s gets a face lift – Charleston City Paper (10 December 2012)
Lowcountry Weekly – Fashions of Art