Several years ago, unable to sell his work or pay the rent for a storage facility where he kept his artist's tools and work, Wilson lived in a homeless shelter for 5 to 6 months. And perhaps worse, the contents of his storage unit were auctioned off by the facility owner.
Winning the competition was "part of God's blueprint," Wilson said, and the reason he signs all his work "In His Name." It also is the title of his newest work, a 2-foot-by-2-foot square creation that has no texture but has text fused into the wax — the words "In His Name" written in marker across the entire surface.
"It's in him I get my concepts and titles ... through scripture. And this work belongs to him because he gave it to me. No one has ... ever done anything else to put it in my soul and in my heart other than him," he said.
Wilson's work is represented in the permanent collection of the African American Museum in Dallas. Some of it is displayed on the walls of New York restaurants and he said a Chicago collector owns 30 of the sculptures. He has also been commissioned by New York interior designer Jennifer Post to create several pieces, some of which have been featured in Architectural Digest magazine.
Going forward, Wilson said he wants to continue to use the ancient organic material to create modern works of a larger scale.
Rush Art Gallery curator Charlotte Mouquin called Wilson's use of the material "something new and refreshing."
"LeRone's technique is rare," she said. "It's got a fragility ... and at the same time it has the simplicity of poetic concept."
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