TRINITY - There was a time when Antonio Carlos da Silva lost the will to create art.
Da Silva sculpts hand-thrown pottery from a workshop at his Trinity home. He began making pottery as a teenager in Brazil.
After years as a successful artist, a sudden influx of cheap pottery from China devastated his sales. He gave up.
“I lost the pleasure,” he said. “It was like being a machine.”
Da Silva moved to Florida, where he met his wife, Melanie, in an English class she was teaching. They married within a year of meeting and moved to Trinity about six months ago to be closer to Melanie’s parents.
It was Melanie who convinced da Silva to take up pottery again after seeing some of his old work.
“I think he had some bitterness,” she said. “I told him he can’t not be doing this. He does beautiful work.”
Da Silva donated $500 worth of pottery for an Oct. 19 auction benefitting the Alabama Center for the Arts in downtown Decatur.
Calhoun Community College President Marilyn Beck, Calhoun Dean Terri Bryson and Carnegie Center for the Arts Director Kim Mitchell chose pieces for the auction at da Silva’s home last week.
Bryson described his work as “elegant and funky at the same time.” She said the arts center is trying to unearth unknown local artists and give them exposure.
“We are trying to find out what their stories are, where do they show, where do they sell,” she said.
Da Silva is still learning English, but he knows enough to speak from the heart.
“It makes me relax,” he said. “If I get tired, I come set up and make a piece. When I am here, I don’t think about anything else.”
Da Silva’s specialty is crafting small pieces, a difficult and rare skill. Some of his pieces are no more than 2 inches high.
“Women and children seem to like small things,” Melanie said.
After struggling in Brazil and Florida, da Silva found an audience for his work in north Alabama. Carnegie’s annual ArtWalk Festival in August was the first time his art began garnering local attention.
“I think people like that he is from Brazil, that he’s exotic,” she said. “And handmade art is appreciated here. There are a lot of old cities and old buildings.”
Still, his art doesn’t pay all the bills. Da Silva lays tile and marble for a living. Melanie said he puts artistic thought into his day job, too, despite its blue-collar nature.
“He does projects a lot of people can’t do,” she said. “Marble tile has to be very flat. When he does it, it looks like a sea.”
Da Silva comes from the city of Belo Horizonte (“beautiful horizon” in English) in the state of Minas Gerais, a region of Brazil known for its artists. Da Silva said he misses his family and visits once a year, but doesn’t miss the country itself.
“He’s adjusted very well,” Melanie said. “He’s adjusted to living here better than I have.”
Not registered? Click here
|High School Sports||@DecaturPreps|