People can easily place art into a generic box, so how would YOU describe your art-form?
I would describe poetry as a form of expression based on the perception of the writer.
How did you get started? What convinced you to choose this medium (writing, drawing, producing music, etc) as your ultimate self-expression?
I actually started out of a bit of jealousy. Seeing a friend with a book full of poems and stories made me want to do the same. The fortunate thing about it is that, I found I had a knack for the art and a lot to say. So I just stuck with it.
Where do you get most of your inspiration for your pieces/perspective from?
Most of my inspiration comes from experiences that matter to me. Not all are my own and not all have a direct impact on me, but the impact these experiences hold is interesting to me and makes for a good piece.
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?
I hope my art is everywhere! Doesn’t everyone? But honestly, I hope that my art form can help people; whether through social commentary or outreach, I think helping people is one of the best things I can do.
“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 to be someone with an affinity towards innovation and opportunity. No one really does anything new anymore and those doing things differently may not always have an audience. It is the drive of those who choose to do something in a manner never before experienced and find a way to allow others to do the same, that makes someone a Young Creative.
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?
While creating a platform for innovative art is something that adds to the development of a country, the lack of properly thought out, supported platforms for Jamaican creatives makes it hard for much development to take place. Everyone starts looking like competition instead of an ally to collaborate efforts with. The lack of platforms is as much a problem as the lack of support generated when someone does begin to open up opportunities.
How important is local support from Jamaicans and fellow Jamaican creatives to you?
It’s really 50/50. On one hand, who cares if the local market likes what I do! If I can get love from foreigners then I can make that dough. On the other hand, as I said earlier, I like helping others. If those that I want to help and those that need the help don’t see how my art can help them, when used and adapted to fit a context, then there is no opportunity to develop the people of my country.
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 feel very much at competition with other creatives, even when I don’t try or want to be. Not because I want to do it better, or first, but because that’s what we have been conditioned to feel when someone happens to be doing something similar to your intentions.
Instead of eradicating unnecessary competitiveness, I feel like collaborations can strengthen the competition against these big companies that tend to have a monopoly on many platforms. Let’s not compete against our small companies trying to do the same thing we are. Let’s give the big companies taking the people for fools a run for their money…
How do you handle negative criticism about your work?
Currently and probably ever since I’ve ever started writing, I haven’t received much outside negative criticism. However, after I finish sulking, how else should I handle it? I’ll just have to review what I did and, through the criticism, find a way to make the work what it needs to be. In another breath, people tend to want their work to be well-loved. Sometimes the work must reflect what you want it to be. So, if a piece reflects my raw, unfiltered emotion, I usually have no intention of making changes that someone else thinks are needed.
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?
Of course! I just need to figure out the best way to do that within this Jamaican context and then get that to translate into an international opportunity. Just because it’s poetry doesn’t mean people don’t travel with it too.
Bonus: Are there any new projects you’d like people to check out or look out for in the future?
So many just this year alone. I’m working on a poetry exhibition, called Mic Check Exhibition, which is part of the Beautiful Eccentric Project series. After that, there’s a fashion show, seminar on tattoos in Jamaica and a Halloween event in the works. All these events may sound like something done to death, but I hope to make all these events an experience rather than a phenomenon.