The Frontrunner Gallery is unquestionably the place to be for visual artist, Andre Woolery. Woolery’s first solo exhibition “Bruised Thumbs” excited many with the use of beautiful, vibrant colors used in his paintings. Starting merely as a hobby complete with an admiration for artists, Woolery later turned his visions into an exhibition blending iconic African-Americans with lush color.
I found myself buzzing in front of the warm metallic hues used on the Obama piece titled “Wet Paint”. There is no doubt as to why his painting of Barack Obama would be Woolery’s favorite, according to Woolery “This piece is entitled “Wet Paint” because that is how I view this presidency… as wet paint. Just as the effects of an artist’s work is not realized when the paint is placed on the canvas, but rather when it dries. The wet paint that Obama has painted will not dry for many years as it is still soaking into the canvas of America’s mind.”
In all honesty, Woolery was certainly overwhelmed with questions from the majority of spectators, including myself, excited to know of his background and inspirations. The fuel for his creative engine, he explains, comes from his love of life. “I love color. I love expressions of creativity. I love black culture. I love hip-hop. I love cool sh*t”, Woolery expressed.
“Each of these pieces is a culmination of what resonates with me and each work is expressed in a way that speaks to my generation. Every push of thumbtack started as a beat within my heart, driving my body towards a rhythm of creation.” The crowded gallery embodied its own rhythm along with the paintings included in “Bruised Thumbs”. In the gallery are portraits of very influential icons: Kanye West, Jay-Z, Jimmy Hendrix, Mohammed Ali, Erykah Badu, and Barack Obama. Much like Woolery and his style of painting, these iconic figures have strayed beyond the norm and created new dimensions of popular culture. It’s okay to break the mold by not falling into categories; a philosophy that many, along with Woolery, agree with. “Follow certain paths and you become a sheep,” Woolery says.
Andre Woolery’s medium of thumbtacks and oil paint convey a very powerful message. The laborious diligence put into each piece parables the same amount of effort to “stand out”.
“Last time I touched a thumbtack was November. I’ve already been to thumbtack rehab,” Woolery jokes.
To see more of Andre Woolery follow him at ANDREWOOLERYART.COM