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Larry Dell Alexander (1953–)

Larry Dell Alexander is a visual artist, writer, and Bible teacher best known for his elaborate pen-and-ink drawings and crosshatching technique. He painted Clinton Family Portrait, an oil painting that he gave to President Bill Clinton in 1995. He has also written several Bible study commentary books on the New Testament.

Larry D. Alexander was born on May 30, 1953, in Dermott (Chicot County), the second son of Robert and Janie Alexander. His father was a truck driver and his mother a hairdresser. He has eight siblings. Alexander began drawing at age four and never received any formal art training while growing up. After graduating from Dermott High School in May 1971, Alexander moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County), where he studied architecture at Pines Vocational Technical School, now Southeast Arkansas College, and completed a course in residential design. He moved to Detroit, Michigan, after two years of school in Pine Bluff to seek employment in his chosen field but ended up working in a Chrysler auto assembly plant. There, he became fascinated with the inner-workings of the automobile, which led him to train to become a certified mechanic, a vocation he worked at for the next seventeen years. He met and married his wife, Patricia, while living in Detroit, and they later moved their family to Irving, Texas. They have four children.

His career as a professional artist began in 1991 when he first developed his pen-and-ink style and used it to create several lines of greeting cards under the now defunct Alexander Greeting Card Company name. Between 1991 and 1994, he also created more than eighty pieces of pen-and-ink fine art, including Renetta, Girlfriends, Cowboy Fiddler, Young Kennedys, and Roundup. In a 1995 Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper story, Colvin Gibson, president of the Irving Black Art Council, said that Alexander’s works “not only depict the Black experience, it also depicts the American experience.” Alexander also used many of his drawings on his popular Finear T-shirt line in the mid-1990s.

Alexander is also a realist painter who works in the media of oil, acrylics, and watercolors. Today, six pieces from his popular “Dermott Series,” paintings concerning his childhood days, are now a part of the permanent collection at the Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff. Alexander’s work can be found in many private collections and is mostly influenced by his life experiences.

In 2001, Alexander published his first book, African-American History at a Glance, which included several pen-and-ink drawings of African Americans who have contributed substantially to American history. Alexander’s book was used to help create a supplemental text put together by the Irving Independent School District to help improve the American history curriculum in local high schools in 2002.

In 2006, Alexander published his second book, Sunday School Lessons from the Book of Acts of the Apostles, which deals with his calling by God to teach the Bible. It was the first of a trilogy that he self-published over a one-year period, followed by Sunday School Lessons from the Gospel according to John Mark (2006) and Sunday School Lessons from the Apostle Paul's Letter to the Romans (2007). His other books include Home Bible Study Commentaries from the Gospel of John (2008) and Home and Church Bible Study Commentaries from the Book of Hebrews (2009). Alexander also writes two weekly online Bible study commentaries.

In 1996, Alexander and Lawrence (Larry) Crockett, both natives of Dermott, put together the first Arkansas Schools Tour. After the first year, however, the tour was continued on by Alexander alone, through 2007. These tours were conducted to instruct and encourage children in pursuing their goals and careers in the visual arts field, as well as other areas, and to stay away from illegal drugs. Alexander usually ended his tour with a two-day art exhibit and print signing at the Dermott Crawfish Festival.

As of 2012, Alexander resides in Irving, Texas.

For additional information:
Chard-Petrinjak, Lynn. “Ex-Arkansan Mixes Art with Anti-Drug Education.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, May 11, 1997, p. 2E.

Goodrich, Terry Lee. “Irving Artist Gives His Presidential Portrait to Clintons.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August. 21, 1995, p. 10.

Jones, Terry Lee. “Widely Diverse Artists Featured in African-American Exhibit.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, January 27, 1995, p. 15.

Larry D. Alexander. http://thelarrydalexander.com/LARRYDALEXANDER/ (accessed January 18, 2012).

J. E. Crockett
Grand Prairie, Texas

Last Updated 12/19/2012

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