Otto Neals, painter, sculptor and printmaker, was born December 11, 1931, to Gus and Della Neals in Lake City, South Carolina. When he was about the age of four, his family left the South and moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he has lived ever since.
Neals is basically a self-taught artist except in the area of printmaking, where he studied at the Bob Blackburn Printmaking Workshop and worked with instructors Mohammed Khalil, Roberto DeLomanica and Krishna Reddy. In addition to painting in oils, watercolors and pastels and printmaking, he is proficient in wood and stone carving. The late painter and sculptor, Vivian Schuyler Key, was responsible for his involvement in stone carving when she presented him with his first set of stone carving tools.
His works are in public and private collections including the Columbia Museum of Art in South Carolina and the National Museum of Ghana in Accra. He has been commissioned to create a number of bronze works, such as a portrait of the late Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton; 10 bronze plaques for the Harlem “Walk of Fame”; the awards for Woody King’s New Federal Theatre; a life-sized sculpture for the Brooklyn Children’s Center; and a bronze work, “Peter and Willie,” located in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, commissioned by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. This bronze work earned him New York City’s Art Commission’s Award for Excellence in Design. The private collectors are actress Ruby Dee, pianist Randy Weston, entertainer Harry Belafonte, Oprah Winfrey, the Hon. David Dinkins, the Hon. Al Vann and many others.
Neals is included in a number of publications, including American Visions Magazine, Sculpture Magazine, The Best of Watermedia Artists II and Elton Fax’s “Black Artists of the New Generation.” He is also responsible for the June 1986 cover of Black Enterprise Magazine, and AT@T included him in the 2013 African American History Calendar.
Website: OttoNeals dot com