Artists Pulls Self Out of Shelter, Creates Buzz

picture from Kansas.com

Now this is called "pulling yourself up from your boot straps."  A Harlem artist, who was once homeless for ten months with his entire family, is now selling artwork of his own creation for over $15,000 a piece.

Painting His Way Out of the Shelter

LeRone Wilson is truly living the American dream.  Wilson, his wife and three children spent time in a Bronx shelter when they couldn't pay their bills and maintain their apartment.  He was already, at that time, working on his unique art form – painting with hot beeswax.  This art form, called encaustic, dates as far back as Egyptian hieroglyphics. It is rarely used today, but Wilson has been practicing the technique for fifteen years now.

It all started for him when, as he describes it,

"A friend of mine had some wax and didn't want it and I just took it and started working with it on my own."  

His creations, that look like coral designs, are produced by heating, cooling and then layering wax. Each piece can take as much as six months to create and can weigh more than 50 pounds.

Even while living in the homeless shelter, Wilson continued to make his art in friends' studios.  He was eventually able to sell a few pieces, allowing his family to move into an apartment in Harlem, where they are today.

Displaying His Talent

Just recently, in December, Wilson won a contest against 4000 other artists for the national Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series in Miami.  The award, sponsored by media mogul Russel Simmon's art foundation, offers exposure to emerging artists.  As a result, Wilson's piece entitled "A Path Through the Sky" is being displayed at the Rush Gallery in Chelsea with 16 other art pieces of his. It will remain there until March 16th.

Wilson maintains that his faith is the backbone for the inspiration for his art, and that it is his faith that has carried him through the difficult times.  As he said,

“It’s my faith that got me through this, not a gallery.”



James Allenby is the editor of Gowanus Lounge, bringing to his position a vast background on New York, and especially Brooklyn history, culture and lifestyle. Born and bred in the heart of "the County of Kings" James Allenby knows what it means to be a Brooklynite, and imparts this meaning at all times to his readers. Contact James at info(at)gowanuslounge.com.