I was taking a class at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach in 2005. It was in figurative sculpture. This was my first experience with a live model. The model was a young African American male named Andre. He was a potter on the wheel and a student at the Armory.
Andre had a very muscular body. His masculinity made it effortless to sculpt my work. When it came time to sculpt Andre’s face, I thought it was going to be a challenge. I did not want to make the model look cartoonishly African American. The instructor, Maritza Cornejo, suggested to me to go around the room and see how the rest of the class was executing Andre’s face. To my surprise, everyone in the class was giving the model a Caucasian face and hair. I was appalled to say the least. So I returned to my sculpture and carefully carved out Andre’s face to the best of my ability. I wanted to capture Andre, the male model sitting in front of me. When it came to the area of Andre’s hair, Maritza assisted me. At that moment I realized that I was determined to make art for the sake of art and not for the money.
“Andre” was terra cotta. I decided to glaze my sculpture. It was glazed multiple times and was fired multiple times in the kiln.
The sculpture “Andre” was requested by Agora Gallery, located in New York City, NY for an exhibition they were having in December 2011. The Gallery wanted the ceramic “Andre” but a decision was made to produce a bronze “Andre” for the show instead.