Alvin Carl Hollingsworth, American (1928 - 2000)

Alvin Hollingsworth

Alvin Hollingsworth, comic-strip illustrator and painter, was born in New York City and began drawing at the age of four, and by the time he was twelve, he was an artist assistant at Holyoke Publishing Company for Catman's Comics. A year later he was doing illustrations for Crime Comics. Also known under the name of Alvin Holly.

His paintings dealt with themes of contemporary social issues such as the Civil Rights Movement, women's struggles, spiritual concepts, jazz, city life, time and space and dance. He was also a mural designer, author, poet, and lecturer.

He graduated from the High School of Music and Art in New York City and then graduated Phi Beta Kappa from City College of New York with a fine arts degree. He later did graduate work.

NBC network hired him to tour the East Coast lecturing and demonstrating painting and to host a ten-part series, "You're Part of Art." As a result, he became a widely known figure in the art world.

Circa 1941, he began illustrating for crime comics. Since it was not standard practice during this era for comic-book credits to be given routinely, comprehensive credits are difficult to ascertain; Hollingsworth's first confirmed comic-book work is the signed, four-page war comics story "Robot Plane" in Aviation Press' Contact Comics #5 (cover-dated March 1945), which he both penciled and inked. Through the remainder of the 1940s, he confirmably drew for Holyoke's Captain Aero Comics (as Al Hollingsworth), and Fiction House's Wings Comics, where he did the feature "Suicide Smith" at least sporadically from 1946 to 1950. He is tentatively identified under the initials "A. H." as an artist on the feature "Captain Power" in Novack Publishing's Great Comics in 1945.

By 1953, he was creating his own comic strip that was nationally syndicated by the Associated Press in one-hundred forty newspapers. In the mid-1950s, he worked on newspaper comic strips including the 1955 Kandy, from the Smith-Mann Syndicate, as well as Scorchy Smith and, with George Shedd, Martin Keel.

Hollingsworth was a member of the prominent Spiral group. Spiral was formed in 1963 in the New York studio of Romare Bearden. Spiral members aimed to address civil and human rights concerns and show support for the Civil Rights Movement. They did not, however, want to adhere to strict aesthetic criteria or compromise their artistic individuality. Spiral also included Norman Lewis, Hale Woodruff, Charles Alston, Emma Amos, Richard Mayhew, Reginald Gammons and others.

In the late 1960s, early 1970s, Hollingsworth created a series of murals for the Don Quixote apartment building in the Bronx, NYC, and a series of six lithographs by the same theme and title. The lithograph offered here is part of that series.

Hollingsworth had also worked as comic-strip illustrator. He was born in New York City, where he received a fine arts degree from the City College of New York. Hollingsworth taught at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York.

From 1980 until his retirement in 1998, Hollingsworth was a full Professor of Art at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York.

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