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Bringing heart in art

YACINE SIMPORÉ Special to the AmNews | 12/7/2011, 7:20 p.m.

For Lerone Wilson, the connection between art and heart is surprisingly natural and easy to make. Born in Chicago, raised in Brooklyn and now living in Harlem, this 43-year-old artist has already exhibited his work at the Audemars Piguet gallery in Manhattan and in many other places in New York.

With both parents working as artists, art has always been an important part of Wilson's life. "My only inspirations to do these works were my faith and my spirituality," acknowledges Wilson. "Art is a platform for everyone," and its role is above all to "bring people together."

When the time came to go to college, Wilson naturally chose to study architecture and fine art at the University of Chicago. While there, he started experimenting with many materials to find out which could help him to express his creativity best. After having success with his oil paintings, he started working with the ancient Egyptian concept of wax casting, a process that fuses wax and clay together to make a cast. Now, beeswax is Wilson's brand, and he is one of the rare artists in the entire world to use the material.

Wilson has participated in Harlem's Open Artist Studio Tour, which offers free gallery tours to people every year. Last week, his talent was recognized internationally in Miami at the finals for the nationwide Bombay Sapphire art contest to find the next big face of visual art.

"It was a very hard competition," Wilson admits. The expectations were indeed high, since there were more than 4,000 submissions from across the United States.

After making it into the semi-finals with his piece "A Path Through the Sky," Wilson was chosen to compete for the top artisan title at the finale exhibition of the nationwide Bombay Sapphire art contest, called Art Basel. After a long period of consideration, Wilson and Miguel Ovalle, both from New York, were announced the official winners of the competition.

"I was the only one of the competition to use the beeswax. Everybody was curious about my work and wanted to touch it," said Wilson, surprised and proud.

The victory gives Wilson the opportunity to show his work at the Rush Art Gallery in Chelsea in February. "I am so happy that I won this title. It will enable me to show my work to people and spread the use of the beeswax to art everywhere," said Wilson. "Being a professional in art is a duty for me. It implies that I have to encourage people to be creative. I have to spread the idea that art is all about promoting yourself and keeping your faith."