SAM DOYLE Sam Doyle Main < BACK

In 1906, Sam Doyle was born on St. Helena, Island, South Carolina. He grew up in a community comprised mostly of freed slaves of a plantation owner named Wallace. He was one of nine children born to his farming parents. Doyle attended Penn School, a private vocational and agricultural school run by northern whites for the island's black children, but he dropped out when he was in the ninth grade and worked as a clerk in a local store. While in school, he studied literature and carpentry, and stood out because of his drawing. After clerking, he took a job as a porter in a wholesale store in Beaufort, and worked there for twenty years, from 1930-1950. He got married in 1932 and lived in a wooden cottage that he helped to build. Eventually, his wife and three children moved to New York, but Doyle wanted to "stay in the sticks" as he said. He then worked in a laundry at the Paris Island Marine Corp. base for sixteen years, and he retired in the late 1960s. He continued to work part-time, but he considered painting to be his principal profession. Doyle was most active as an artist in the 1970s and 1980s.

Sam Doyle's paintings often reflect the African-American culture that surrounded him. He painted local and national figures, including sports, political, and popular cultural heroes. Many of Doyle's paintings were done on sheet metal (roofing tin), painted with enamel or latex house paint. He also occasionally made animal (turtle, snake, alligator) sculptures out of wood. Many of his pieces were displayed in his yard under a large oak tree.

Sam Doyle was extremely proud of his paintings - "I want to share my art with as many people as possible". - this was Doyle's dream. He enjoyed seeing museums and galleries exhibit his art. He continued to create his artwork until 1985, when he passed away at the age of seventy-nine.

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