People can easily place art in to a generic box, so how would YOU describe your art-form?
I think that my Art is a tool of expression/creation. Not only to express my feelings, but also external things which I observe around me. It’s like a portal into my head that I can reach through and pull my ideas out into the real world and I think that’s the most amazing thing about it.
How did you get started? What convinced you to choose this medium (writing, drawing, producing music, etc) as your ultimate self-expression?
As an Artist I got started in 2009 in third form when I first got interested in a genre of dance called the C-Walk. That same year at school I met my friend GibbZ and he introduced me further into dancing when I joined Fizix, his dance crew at the time, which we eventually transformed into an artistic collective once our interests/talents expanded past just Dance. Without Gibbz’ encouragement I definitely would not be in the place I am now. The focus of my artistic endeavours varies depending on the ideas that bloom in my head. Currently I focus on creating primarily through music production and Dj-ing because I hear music in my head and I won’t be satisfied until other people can hear it as well, and the only way to do that is to create it.
Where do you get most of your inspiration for your pieces/perspective from?
The inspiration for my music comes from many places. I draw a lot of inspiration from other artists, especially my friends, because I’m a very social person at times so I like having people around or collaborating because it allows me to bounce ideas off of them, or get their input on an idea when I hit a creative block. I also get inspiration from the music that I listen to. Like… I’ll be listening to a piece of music, and a section of the song will spark an idea in my head, or I’ll notice different methods/techniques the producer used to achieve a certain sound/effect and I’ll attempt to re-use that technique in a different way with my own creations. Not to mention sampling, which is the process of taking a sound that’s already been recorded (Like another song for example) and manipulating(“Chopping”) parts of it in order to transform it into a new musical idea, because when you’re going through pieces of music looking for samples as opposed to just listening, it requires a different kind of ear since you’re listening to parts that you can use for yourself as opposed to simply listening for enjoyment. I believe inspiration can come from literally anywhere, it just depends on you as the artist and how you’re able to translate different factors into a creation.
Let’s say later down the line, maybe 5-10 years, you are successfully creating your art on your terms on a large-scale Where/What do you hope to see your art-form be?
That’s an interesting question, and to be honest with the existence of the internet the limits are endless. I hope that my art will allow me to make a positive impact on society, not just home in Jamaica but anywhere it reaches. Anybody that consumes/interacts with any of the work I’ve done should be able to benefit positively from it no matter how small the scale. I also want to play my part as an artist in fostering a functional industry where other Artists can flourish and make a living off of their art because I think art is valuable.
“Young Creatives” is often used to describe an artist who uses their unique, sometimes alternative, views, imagination and lifestyle as a creator in their art-form. But what do you consider a young creative to be?
I think a Young Creative is any young person who is passionately involved in any creative endeavor, not just the “Arts” but anything which involves the creation and expression of an idea such as Architecture, Engineering etc.
What do you think about the platforms, or lack thereof, available to the new wave of young Jamaican creatives to sell, showcase or get support for their art?
I see where recently there has been a surge in the number of platforms available to young artists to showcase or get support for their art, however I still believe that in general as an industry, we still have a long ways to go as it relates to the opportunities/platforms that exist for Artists in general, not just the young ones. That will change as time passes though and I’m going to make sure I play my part.
How important is local support from Jamaicans and fellow Jamaican creatives to you?
First I’d like to say that the motivation to be an Artist should be primarily internal. Create for yourself, motivate yourself. That being said, I still think it’s very important as a Jamaican creative to have the support of my peers and the people from my country. Human beings are social animals, and it’s only natural to want approval from other people. But in the event that you don’t receive that support, create anyways.
Do you feel like you’re in competition with other creatives, especially with how easy it is to get popular (or “go viral”)? Do you think collaborations can eradicate unnecessary competitiveness?
I think collaboration is a good thing because it allows for the blending of ideas and perspectives, however I don’t think that collaboration will totally remove the spirit of competition from the artistic community.
How do you handle negative criticism about your work?
I love negative criticism, because no matter what it teaches you something, and once you learn the lesson that’s to be taught, all negative criticism becomes positive criticism. It is very important to know where the criticism is coming from and what you want to be critiqued. For example, when I ask for critiques on my music I try to ask people who I know ; 1. Actually know about music and how music works, not just a random friend of mine who probably doesn’t have detailed knowledge of my art form. 2. Are not afraid to give me negative criticism because they don’t want to hurt my feelings. Keeping these things in mind, you’ll be able to really pick out aspects of your art that you may need to work on in order to improve. When processing the critiques I get, I also take care to separate the objective critiques (i.e “That kick drum is too loud, it’s drowning out the other drum sounds”) from the subjective ones (i.e “I didn’t like how that section of the song sounded.”) because in doing so I can determine what is an actual issue with the song and not a taste-based problem that the person critiquing the song was having.
It’s often said that if opportunity doesn’t knock, build your own door. Do have any interest in creating a platform for other young creatives to express themselves or help them get recognition?
In the long-term it’s one of my goals to build some concrete platforms and infrastructure in the artistic industry in Jamaica, but until I nail those plans down for sure, the one thing I’ve been doing (That we all can do) is supporting other artists any way that I can. I share art endlessly, I show support on social media, I use the services of other young creatives for graphic design etc and I pay them whenever possible.
Bonus: Are there any new projects you’d like people to check out or look out for in the future?
Keep an eye on my SoundCloud, I have a few tracks coming out featuring your favourite young creatives ;). Also keep an eye out for the music video premiere of “Skydive” by Blvk H3ro feat. Leno Banton. That song was produced by myself alongside my good friend Kone.