People can easily place art in to a generic box, so how would YOU describe your art-form?
Come to think of it, I’ve never actually described my art-form. To be honest, most days I wouldn’t even think of myself as having an art form. I just write, sometimes it makes sense; other days my writing reflects the discord inside of me. If I were to describe it however, I would say it’s an art form fuelled by a love of words. Writing, as I tell people every day, is whatever you need it to be. It can be a secret- something we write just for ourselves or it can be something we want to share with others. It can be loud, soft, poetic, sarcastic- anything. That’s the beauty of this art form for me- that’s it’s so versatile.
How did you get started? What convinced you to choose this medium (writing, drawing, producing music, etc) as your ultimate self expression?
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.
Where do you get most of your inspiration for your pieces/perspective from?
Most of my pieces come from bad days. I very rarely write when I’m having a great day. My inspiration is a good rant, a good cry or a strong wave of anger. My inspiration is probably self-generated because I find that inevitably, in everything that I produce, a little part of myself peeps out even when I try to hide it.
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?
Wow. 5 or 10 years down the line, I hope to finally finish the novel I’ve been working on from 1957. I wouldn’t say I want to be a professional writer, because deadlines and the hum-drum of always producing on a schedule and producing to fit a particular market yadda yadda gives me real life stress so I’d rather not step into that world. I do have a story inside of me that’s been slowly unfolding these past few years and I hope that one day I allow myself to share it.
“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?
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 fulfil 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.
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?
Honestly, I think a lot more platforms could and should exist for young Jamaicans. They are quite a few spaces for us to showcase our art and our talent, but not so many opportunities to monetize or get support that transcends verbal gratification. What I like about the Jamaican creative community is that it constitutes an innovative bunch of creatives that has long stopped asking others for recognition. Jamaican creatives take the spaces they occupy in every day society and are making them creative, and in so doing crating platforms for themselves and others. Nuff ratings for that.
How important is local support from Jamaicans and fellow Jamaican creatives to you?
Support in general is important beyond imagination. Knowing that your own people are behind you 100% gives the motivation to push through every dry spell whether it be writer’s block or a low energy day that you have. Support among creatives is a wave of positive energy which culminates into projects that ripple through Jamaican society. For me, support from fellow Jamaicans and creatives is important because I do what I do for Jamaica and it’s always a nice warm hug when it’s appreciated within the Jamaican family.
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’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.
How do you handle negative criticism about your work?
I like feedback about the things I’ve done. As long as the criticism isn’t coming from a place of malice, I’m always open to it.
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?
Funny enough I have. A few years ago I used to scour the internet for platforms for Jamaican writers. I’ve joined platforms that have lasted 3 weeks, groups that were not as advertised and others that tried to put the writing of every participant in a box. Years later, my hands deep in my hair, olive oil and shea butter, I got the idea for Hummingbird Bloggers, which I further developed with a friend of mine. Hummingbird is brand new but my goal is that sooner, rather than later, writers featured on this blog will get the recognition they truly deserve, not just for the art they post on the site but I also want Hummingbird to shed a spotlight on their personal endeavours as well.
Bonus: Are there any new projects you’d like people to check out or look out for in the future?
One day I’m going to write a story about a girl. One day, mark my words.