About Del


In the Beginning

del pictured in a suit as a child

Del was born sighted in North London to Jamaican immigrants, and experienced childhood as an only child in an urban and racially diverse city. At an early age, it was very apparent to Del that the educational system did not acknowledge or represent the populace, which was comprised of a melting pot of the entire United Nations. He felt surrounded by white British patriotism, even amongst his young peers.

  

 

 

 


Adolescence

Del’s feelings of disillusionment grew throughout adolescence. The underrepresentation of the not-so-minority minorities gnawed at him. Viewing a photograph during a lesson on American history one ordinary day changed the course of his life. It was a photograph of three athletes on the podium after the men’s 200m race at the 1968 Summer Olympic Games…two African-American athletes dominated the podiums, proudly wearing their gold and bronze medals. Tommie Smith wore a black scarf to represent black pride. John Carlos unzipped his jersey in solidarity with blue-collar workers and wore a beaded necklace honoring those lynched, tarred or killed. Both were shoeless to represent black poverty with black-gloved fists thrust into the air in the Black Power Salute.

In that moment, Del realized how critical Black cultural events from the past, present or future were to his self-realization and growth. In that moment, he also decided that he had no desire to carry a western last name due to its historical origins from slavery.


Diminishing Sight

del fine artist student photos

Throughout his life, Del turned to art as a release whether it be doodling while in school or tracing the plates of Renaissance master paintings from the huge leather-bound family bible. At 16 years old, Del’s peripheral vision was so diminished that it halted his participation in competitive sports and redirected his efforts toward academic goals. Del enrolled at Kingsway-Princeton College in London where he received certificates in textile design, along with English literature, art, music, and art history. The influence of his mentor, Betty Tadman, helped propel Del to pursue a B.A. degree in textile design at De Montfort University, in Leicester, England.


Coming to America

Drawing by Del of “Lulua: Figure of a Mother Holding A Child” (Lupingu iwa cibola) 19th CenturyDrawing by Del of “The Queen Mother Pendant Mask: Iyoba,” Benin, 16th century

Shortly after receiving his degree, Del decided to follow his dream of moving to New York City. Upon his arrival, he tested the waters of commerce by producing and selling original illustrated greeting cards inspired by African sculptural museum display pieces.

 


House

HOUSE retail store and apparel

Del later went on to produce his own line of apparel and own two NYC retail stores. He developed international accounts, and his retail clothing business HOUSE attracted celebrities like Queen Latifah, Massive Attack, Jesus Jones, and Vernon Reid. Unfortunately, his increasing blindness squashed Del’s goals related to textile design. At 35, the retinitis pigmentosa, an aggressive, hereditary and degenerative visual disease, brought his vision down to 3%.


Sculpture & Assemblage

"Rivers of Blood” by Del “American Skinhead” by Del  “Knockout” by Del

Three-dimensional forms have often been at the heart of Del’s interests, whether it be through his own work or his collection of international cultural carvings. In 2010, Del enrolled in the M.A. degree sculpture program at Southern Oregon University (SOU), Ashland. He was fascinated by SOU head sculpture professor Marlene Alt’s teachings of contemporary artists and assemblage. A serious pursuit of studies in sculpture at SOU led him to employ mixed materials and ready-made items to build a variety of forms, particularly those related to the dynamics of the human form.


Reinvention

“Head of Table” by Del

Del discovered a natural affinity for wood carving after moving to Portland, Oregon in 2013, when he took an elective class offered to those receiving services at the Oregon Commission for the Blind. Today, with continued interest in assemblage, Del takes on new challenges as he attempts to carve wood into three-dimensional forms. Text is frequently integrated into his works to invite exploration and deeper meaning.


In the Works

“Pardonnez mon Français” by Del“Goddess” by Del

Del foresees 2020 through 2021 as an exciting period of total exploration. A focus for Del’s future carving themes will be social commentary, specifically that of the black race in Western culture. With passion, Del persists with interdisciplinary research to create his artistic vision. He is determined to develop the means to express himself, unfettered by his complete lack of sight.