By Ryan Michaels
The Birmingham Times
Larry Silver was first pulled into art by a drawing his mother, Betty, had done that hung in the living room of his childhood home in Tuscaloosa.
The drawing was a portrait of a Black woman with a comb stuck in her natural hair, Silver recalled.
He repeatedly tried to redraw the same image when he was young but could “never quite get it. [My mother] perfected it,” Silver said. That repeated effort, plus the amount of time Silver spent sitting in the lobbies at his mother’s part-time janitorial jobs at an insurance company and a paper company pushed Silver further into drawing.
Silver, now 31, is known mostly for his paintings, where the influence of that drawing the mesmerized him is still clear. Portraits of Black people make up a large share of Silver’s work, portraits of men, women and children, some of which appear to be set in modern times, and some set hundreds of years ago.
For Silver, art is a form of communication that can be an escape from or an answer to the problems of the day. Silver said his work is mostly inspired by conversations.
“It could be conversation topics [that inspire me] or anything that’s going on in the world, and I want to be able to capture the time and also be able to tell the stories that may not have anything to do with the times that we’re in now,” Silver said.