Leroy Almon

(1938-1997)
Leroy Almon was born in Tallapoosa, Georgia, but grew up and spent most of his life in Columbus, Ohio, working as a shoe salesman and for Coca-Cola during his adult years. It was not until later in life that he started working as an artist. In Columbus, he became friends with and apprenticed to the well-known wood-carver, Elijah Pierce. It was from Pierce that Almon learned the craft of woodcarving, which became his medium of expression. Inspired by religious, political and historical subject matter, Almon used hand chisels and pocketknives to carve bas-relief wood, which he then painted. He often portrayed people battling Satan, evil temptations of contemporary life, famous historical subjects, and the trials of racism and slavery in his polychrome reliefs.

In the early ‘80s, Leroy Almon returned to Tallapoosa, where he lived out the rest of his life. He became an ordained minister and nondenominational evangelist and also did work as a police dispatcher while continuing to work as an artist. Christianity remained as the main focus of both his life and art. In April 1997, at the age of 59, he died of a heart attack, leaving a wife and two sons. Almon’s work is in many private collections, galleries and is in several museum collections including the High Museum in Atlanta. His work has been in many exhibitions including “Black History and Artistry” in 1993 and “Flying Free” in 1997.

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