Published: Oct 04, 2013 5:52 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 04, 2013 6:10 PM EDT

Fort Myers, FL - After 99 days on the Gulf floor, Andreas Franke's Mohawk Project is ready for display. In an exclusive interview Friday afternoon, the artist took WINK News behind the scenes and explained exactly how he created his Sinking World.

The entire process began 14 months ago in August 2012. One month after the Mohawk was scuttled, Andreas first dove the USS Mohawk CGC Veterans Memorial Reef. "I took many many shots of the wonderful shipwreck, the Mohawk. Then I went back to my hometown of Vienna in Europe," he says.

For two days, Andreas and his team shot models depicting sailors' everyday lives at sea and what it may have been like serving on the Mohawk. He also captured their fantasies; that's why you see so many images of women aboard the ship.

The images of the models were then superimposed onto underwater pictures of the ship. "That's also a very tricky part, because you will never find the same lighting in the studio that you have underwater. And that took approximately a month," he says.

On June 1st, 12 poster-size pieces of artwork, sealed between sheets of plexi-glass, were hung on the Mohawk using magnets, transforming the memorial into a masterpiece.

Seventy-five feet beneath the surface, the artwork remained for 99 days, gathering growth. In early September the images were retrieved, sealed, and dried. "They look fantastic, and the sea did it! [It] changed it, and made it unique," says Andreas.

The Mohawk Project will be on display at the Lee County Alliance for the Arts until October 28th. As an added bonus, the entire original Vandenberg Project, Andreas's first underwater undertaking from Key West, will also be featured.

Doors will be open on Friday, October 4th until 7:30PM. If you can't make opening night but want to meet the artist, Andreas will be hosting two gallery walk-throughs the morning of Saturday, October 5th at 10 and 11AM.