In the Jamaican community, there seems to be a surge of new talent and Young Creatives that are creating innovative art, music, literature, and the works through the power of social media and their own platforms. Today, with a few creatives, we’ll discuss the starting points, inspirations and outlooks from these talented people and how they plan to make themselves known and grow in an industry/platform that they control.
How did you get started? What convinced you to choose this medium (writing, drawing, producing music, etc) as your ultimate self expression?
Roux : I write, I draw and I illustrate. I was suppressed from doing art, so choosing it as a career path wasn’t easy. I got started as a means of an escape roughly a year ago. I had stopped drawing for about 5 years then I came back to it, it’s just where my passion lies. Reconnecting with it, is probably the best decision I’ve made in my life. It’s excellent therapy and I learned how lucrative the field is, as opposed to what I was taught at a younger age.
Smicky : 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.
BoomDraw : 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 Djing 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.
Kone: Uhm. Music kinda just been a thing. Been trying to learn piano since I been 8 or so. Picked up guitar a few years back. About 4-5 years now. Then that whole wave of EDM came in and I found solace in music from guys like Flume and Skrillex during that time. So I tried making my own beats and ting with that little music knowledge that I had and I’ve just kinda been growing from there.
Vanessa: I got started writing when I was very young. My first story was a horribly written piece about Clifford the Big Red Dog (who was a boy in my adaptation) and Emily Elizabeth. Needless to say, when my mother found it she was horrified and took a while to recover. I grew up in a family with way more men than women and getting my voice heard, not only as a girl, but also as someone who was very quiet, was sometimes a losing battle. Writing for me was a way to get out all the things I needed to say without having to compete with anybody else.
Tara: I have always been writing. My Grandmother was an English Teacher and she would always encourage (force) me to express myself. “Say exactly what you mean, Tara” She’d say. So I would write littles stories and just ordinary ramblings to get my thoughts out of my head. But, I suppose I started to take my writing/storytelling/poetry seriously when I joined the community of the poetry society of Jamaica.
“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?
Roux : I think a young creative is just that. Someone that steps outside of the norms, someone that exudes passion from their pores. A young creative thinks differently and applications of their thought processes aren’t limited to the average idea of art forms. young creatives aren’t just writers or painters, one can be an entrepreneur. It’s anyone that has great ideas and executes them and that in itself is an art.
Smicky : 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.
BoomDraw : 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.
Kone: I suppose just that. People try to pin the young thing to an age group buy I think it’s more the freshness of the ideas & processes. Fresh Creatives (lol).
Vanessa: A young creative for me is simply somebody who is young and who creates. I find that many young people have become obsessed with definitions and fitting- not necessarily fitting in, but fitting into what they consider the box that a creative should neatly fold themselves into. There seems to be a race to fulfill a certain aesthetic but beyond this is a good number of people who create for the love of creating and are as honest with their art as they can be. These for me, are the young creatives.
Tara: Hmmm. Honestly. We are all young creatives, if we should be quite frank. The word “creative/s” is being thrown around so carelessly these days, especially to people who only indulge in the traditional forms of art. You most definitely don’t have to dance or sing or write or play some sort of fancy instrument to be labeled as “creative”. I think a creative is a brilliant mind, and there are brilliant minds in all corners of society. It could be Brandon who is a genius at programming, Jenny who is a great planner or even Sasha who is spectacular at cleaning or whatever. I think we should make an effort to separate ourselves from labels and appreciate people for who and what they are, even if it’s not celebrated or acknowledged by society.
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?
Roux : Yes, indeed, I do. I’m on the popular side of Jamaican artists and I’m still craving for more exposure. It’s not as easy, takes work & dedication. Collaborations are good, but isn’t something to always practice because competition is also good.
“Thank God for competition, when competitors upset our plans or outdo our designs, they open infinite possibilities of our own work to us” –Gil Atkinson.
Smicky : 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…
BoomDraw : In general, I feel like we as Artists (especially Black artists) are socialized to believe that only a few of us will ever “Make it” and that definitely contributes to how we view ourselves as well as how we interact with other artists. Personally though, the only person I’m in competition with my myself, truly. It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to other creatives especially if they’re close to you in age/experience. I do believe that a little competitive spirit is a positive thing though, but only when it’s done in the spirit of fun, not when the competition is made to seem like a career-deciding factor.
Kone: Not in my experience. I feel it may have been more competitive in the past when it was harder to push out and nepotism was the order of the day. It might even be caused by the ease of popularity, but there’s a fairly open spirit of collaboration among “young creatives” now more than ever, even across art forms.
Vanessa: I’ve never felt like I’m in competition. It’s hard to feel that way with writing. As for collaborations eradicating unnecessary competitiveness? I think it can. I can’t imagine competing against a sister or a member of a team I’m a part of. Honestly, enough food is out there for everyone and nobody else’s success can really threaten mine.
Tara: I don’t feel like in competition with other creatives. It’s not even something I think about, to be honest. I just stay in my corner, express myself the way I know how and it attracts who it must. Yes, to an extent. Yes.
These creatives are just a few of the talents that Jamaica has to offer, so remember to read their respective interviews and follow them on their social media accounts to stay up-to-date.