In the Beginning
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.