Expression is a beautiful thing, it’s the perfect synonym of art. The ability to express in any way or form is a subliminal gift, not often understood but deeply felt. The creation of something that is born from thoughts and emotions, not only for others to see and experience but also to feel and live. It is more than a way of life. And that’s what André LeRoy Davis, known as A. L. Dré, does with his art since he can remember, transmit with boldness and wit his creativity, ideas, and convictions.
Inspired by his older brother, an artist, a young A. L. Dré began his career as an artist from a young age. With paper, paint, brushes, and colorful pencils in hand, he quickly realized that his young art created a positive response from his peers. So it began, “I was officially an artist,” says Davis.
Q & A With A. L. Dré
Tell us, what inspires you? Waking up in the morning and just being alive, being a black man in America. Being a lover of Hip Hop, comics, music in general, and being politically aware. It also depends on the situation, where I am and what is going on around me, what topic becomes most prevalent in my work and whatever might be in need of being artistically magnified.
I can see that you take a political and witty approach to your art. What message are you hoping the viewer will get from it? The way I view life transfers into my art. I am aware, awake, positive, realistic and a pessimistic optimist. I am straight forward and have a wide range of sense of humor. My art is an extension of who I am. I speak and draw on what I know, what I’m passionate about, and what’s important to me. There is no particular message to my work, but the connecting theme you will pick up is my love for my people. My aim is to always enlighten, make you laugh, make you think, and then make you rethink what you just thought.
Tell me about your work with Marvel with these 3 covers? My work with Marvel came about from speaking up when the opportunity presented itself. I was on a panel at Comic-Con in New York last year and I wound up sitting next to the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, Axel Alonso. Before the panel started, I shook his hand, introduced myself and told him, “Yaw’ll need to have me do a cover.” He knew my work and he said, “Let’s make it happen, e-mail me next week.” I followed through and things proceeded slowly until contracts were signed, artwork was assigned, and deadlines were met. Now the covers are ready for the world to see.
What else do you want to achieve with your art? I believe that there is no limit to what I can achieve artistically. From my young teenage years to my college years, I have always said that I want to achieve world domination with my artwork. For me that means my artwork appearing everywhere and on anything: books, magazines, album covers, clothes, movies, trading cards, comic books, museums, art galleries, and television. If you can name it, then that is where I’m striving to have my artwork emblazoned on.
So far, which artwork are you most proud of? And why? Thankfully I am proud of all of my work. I make sure that anything I create and sign my name to truly represents me. I think out clearly what I am going to create and how I am going to create it. A work that is close to my heart and very necessary is a group show I conceived and curated back in 2013 and that first hung on gallery walls in 2014. “17: The Revolution Will Be Visualized” is a show where black artists tell our story visually. As opposed to white folks telling our story. I organized 17 different artists to create one piece each to honor, celebrate, and morn all those young, innocent black kids murdered before reaching the age of 18. It’s a powerful show.