Andre attended the Pro Arte School of arts in Pretoria (1989 – 1993) where he majored in painting and graphics. He flourished at art from an early age and won various merits and awards, including work being selected for the Iscor Permanent Art Collection. Andre studied in several artistic disciplines including painting, sculpture, jewellery making, graphic and packaging design.
In 1994 he moved to Cape Town where he trained in metal work (forging, welding and metallurgical theory) under the direction of John Allesandri. While working at the Doyle Art Foundry (1997-1998) he became familiar with the moulding and bronze casting process. During 2001 he started to work at the Bronze Age Art Foundry where he became efficient in all the various stages of the lost-wax casting process (cire perdue) over the next few years.
Within three years he becomes a partner at the Bronze Age Art Foundry (2004 – 2007) and excelled in the production and business aspects of bronze sculpture. Andre played an integral part in the arranging and execution of various art exhibitions and trade shows. He worked with renowned artists such as Maureen Quin (friend and mentor), Keith Calder, Dylan Lewis, Donald Greig and Beezy Bailey, which helped refine his technical and artistic approach. To encourage bronze sculpturing as an art form he developed a foundry sculpture course, which taught students all the various aspects of bronze sculpture production.
During 2007 Andre was commissioned to create nine large bronze relief panels to be laid into marble floors of the Burj Khalifa Development in Dubai (tallest man-made structure in the world). In 2008 Stead created a series of figurative studies of the female form. In 2009 Stead showcased the Female series (realistic bronze figures) in two solo exhibitions in Cape Town and Johannesburg. During 2010 works from the female series were exhibited in various group shows in South Africa.
In 2010 Stead started working on the Anamorphic series launching it with a solo exhibition in August 2011 in Franschhoek at IS ART gallery. His latest work focuses on pure form derived from the human figure and has already drawn significant attention from art dealers and collectors alike. In 2011 Stead was commissioned by Laurence Graff to create a sculptural installation, “Flight of the Swallows” for the Indochine restaurant at the Delaire Graff Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.
Other projects during 2011 include the installation of the “Large Reclining Figure”, a three-meter version of the anamorphic series figure. In early 2012 Stead produced the “Oxford Swallows”, a smaller yet completely unique version of the stainless steel and perspex installation at Delaire. His solo exhibition, “Illumination”, showcased in July 2012 at the Christopher Møller Art Gallery in Cape Town. During 2013 Stead participated in the Woordfees exhibition “Heavenly” in Stellenbosch followed by his solo exhibition “Elemental man” at the Knysna Fine art gallery. 2014 had a view large projects as well as participation in the Cape Town Art Fair and the Woordfees in Stellenbosch.
During 2015 André completed a number of commissions including the life-size bronze “Amare Abbraccio”. The piece was commissioned by Anuoka Haese and depicts a father and son. There were also a number of group exhibitions in 2015 and the development of a new large-scale project coming in 2016.