Carlos Alpha (Shiney) Moon: 1906 – 1953
Merchant, Artist, Co-founder of the Bayou Painters in South Alabama
Carlos Alpha Moon became known as “Shiney” during his one year at Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn University, while playing a banjo during a band performance. He was born in Birmingham in 1906, raised in Andalusia, took up the family business of photography in Troy and moved to Florala to take over operation of Pouncey’s, his wife’s family’s ladies ready-to-wear business. He later added three locations in North Florida and soon became quite a successful merchant. With his business operating smoothly, Shiney had time to pursue hobbies. He discovered his aptitude for art in 1943 when daughter Martha Moon (Kracke) grew tired of her oil painting set. Moon painted his first painting to encourage Martha to revive her interest. Later that year, Shiney and family dropped in at the Dixie Art Colony that he had read about in a newspaper article. He and Kelly Fitzpatrick immediately connected and became fast friends.
Moon began attending the Dixie Art Colony in 1944, often accompanied by his daughter Martha. He painted in oil until 1946, often focusing on vernacular architecture. In 1946, Moon studied with Morris Davidson in Provincetown, MA and began to paint primarily in watercolors. He had his first one-man show, composed entirely of oil paintings, at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. He also began attending another colony led by Genevieve Southerland in Bayou La Batre. Most of Moon's later works are more abstract in nature and a testament to the influence of Morris Davidson, who was well known for abstraction. Most consider Moon's later works to be his best. He painted tirelessly while continuing business, civic and other hobby interests. It was almost as if he knew his time was short. He died suddenly of a heart attack in July of 1953 at the age of 47. Ironically, mentors Kelly Fitzpatrick and Genevieve Southerland preceded him in death in April and June of the same year.
- Born: Birmingham, AL on May 18, 1906; Death: Florala, AL on July 27, 1953
- Best Known For: Regionalism and Abstration
- Methods: Easel and Plein Air Painting, Oils and Watercolors
- Secondary Education: Alabama Polytechnic Institute, (Auburn University), Auburn, AL; Studied with Kelly Fitzpatrick, Wetumpka, AL; Studied with Morris Davidson, Provincetown, MA
- Books: Alabama Masters: Artists and Their Work; Tales from the Easel: American Narrative Paintings from Southeastern Museums, circa 1800-1950; The Bayou Painters: South Alabama’s Art Colony (1946-1953); Alabama Masters: Artists and Their Work, 2008; U.S. Department of State - Art in Embassies, Bucharest, Romania, 2009
- Periodicals: American Art Review, Feb. 2006; American Art Review, Oct. 1997; Alabama Heritage, Summer 1996; Alabama Heritage, Winter 2003
- Museums: Dixie Art Colony Foundation, Wetumpka, AL, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA; Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn, AL; Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL; Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, AL; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, GA; Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA
- Archived Files: All archived files are password protected and available upon written request. The archive includes original letters by Moon, photographs and examples of her artwork. Access Carlos Alpha (Shiney) Moon Files (We are in the process of digitizing our archives. Additional content will be added on a regular basis as it becomes available.)
References: Alabama Heritage, Summer 1996; Alabama Masters: Artists and Their Work; Encyclopedia of Alabama; Ancestry.com; Bhamwiki; AskArt.com; The Bayou Painters: South Alabama’s Art Colony (1946-1953), American Art Review, Feb. 2006; Private Papers from the Dixie Art Colony Archives; Private Interviews