Radiator Cityscape

Ollie Cox (Abingdon, Virginia)
Ollie Cox (Abingdon, Virginia)
Ollie Cox (Abingdon, Virginia)
SKU: OCX-1119

Oil paint on automobile radiator.
(18" x 32"), 2008

"Judy and I knew Ollie's house as soon as we saw it. The front had a scattering of junk, and the enclosed back yard was dense with every kind of trash imaginable--old road signs, pieces of wood, metal from cars, unrecognizable stuff. But inside was mind boggling. When he showed us around, every room was cluttered with his art work. It was screwed to walls, lying on beds, leaning against and on top of the pool table, in the kitchen, bathroom, anywhere you could put it. He had painted on discarded Hallmark card racks, the glass door of a commercial washing machine, odd pieces of wood and much more.

''When I moved back to Abingdon, I discovered that there were a lot of objects,' he explained, 'wood, metal, and all kinds of trash just laying around. And some of it I thought was pretty cool. I tried to figure out what I would try to do with this stuff cause I hate to see it go to the junk yard. When I'm riding around it could take 20 hours to get home because every 10 seconds I'm stopping to pick something up.'

'Now that radiator,' he told me years later, after he left Abingdon, 'that's a rare piece. I only painted 5 or 6 radiators. That one I painted a landscape on one side and a gas station on the other."

From an unpublished manuscript by Len Davidson

Ollie Cox in his home. 2009

Born in 1948 to one of the few African American families in Abingdon, Virginia, Ollie Cox got an education and got out of town. After graduating from Johnson C. Smith College in Durham, NC he worked in a series of “corporate jobs”, which took him to the west coast.