After face-casting downtown artist friends in January of 1979, John Ahearn began casting local Bronx residents in the front window of the newly established Fashion Moda art space. Rigoberto Torres, whose uncle had a statuary factory nearby, learned the process and joined Ahearn in an artist partnership that still remains in place. In the 1980s, the two installed several permanent sculpture murals in Bronx neighborhoods. Since then, Ahearn and Torres have collaborated on large-scale murals in many countries and continue their life-cast portraits.
The figures in Ahearn’s “Swimmers” wall were cast from real competitive swimmers (at the starting gun) for a sports wall installed with Rigoberto Torres in Caguas, Puerto Rico, in 2004.