Steel City Artist Aug09


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Steel City Artist

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Rating: 4.1/5 (11 votes cast)

Documenting parts of Pittsburgh past and present, self-taught artist Charles Ott creates beautifully detailed pen and ink illustrations.    Born and raised in Western Pennsylvania, Ott primarily focuses on the architectural statements that define our region such as The Heinz Chapel or Three Rivers Stadium or countless steel mills from the past.

His work is displayed in regional and national art galleries but most notably the White House!  Charles drew the White House as a gift for then-President Clinton and he tells it still hangs in the White House.  “The President actually took the time to write me a personal letter which hangs on the mantle of my parent’s home,” Ott says, “Since that time, I have sent one to each sitting president resulting in a hand-written letter and I will continue to do so throughout my life.”

He loves using pen and ink to record the wonderful memories that abound in the Pittsburgh region which holds the memories that built America.  “There is its storied history, legacy of the steel industry and the melting pot of neighborhoods and places of worship,”  Ott said.  “I wanted to create illustrations that would allow Pittsburghers to reminisce and to reflect on their childhood and the places that have personal sentimental meaning to them.”

As a child, Ott was inspired by often watching prominent Pittsburgh Illustrator Nevin Robinson draw.  Some 30 years later, Charles has perfected his craft.   He now focuses on Pittsburgh scenes because, “It allows me to combine two subjects which I am passionate about which is local history and drawing.  Pittsburgh has a wealth of subjects for artists to convey in their artwork from its diverse architectural urban landscape of buildings, bridges and stadiums.”

Prints of illustrations range anywhere from $10-20 for open edition prints and may be a bit higher for the limited edition prints. Each original illustration measures 14 X 17.   Commissioned work which normally includes personal homes or family businesses cost between $375-$450 and are done on Strathmore acid free paper and guaranteed to last a lifetime.

While his personal favorite is his illustration of Cinderella Castle, Ott understands most people make a connection to the drawings that bring out memories.  “Many of their parents and grandparents made their livelihoods in the mills, so there is that personal connection,” he said.  “The steelworkers of this region were the backbone of our nation.  A majority of the steel used to build our nation’s buildings, bridges, monuments and memorials was manufactured right here in Pittsburgh.  We will forever be known as the Steel City and with that title we should be very proud and thankful to those who came before us.  They showed us that through hard work and American pride anything is possible.”

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Steel City Artist , 4.1 out of 5 based on 11 ratings