Today we’re catching up with six incredible artists from Jamaica, a big-hearted island in the Caribbean Sea. I asked each artist how their country and culture inspired their work, and they delivered great responses.
Sanjay is an illustrator and animator from Kingston, Jamaica. He’s got insane Photoshop skills and renders mighty character illustrations.
I live on a tropical island where it’s summer all year long. A place where the landscape is lush and the beaches are beautiful. I love living in a place where my race has no bearing on how I’m treated as an individual. I love my people and my culture.
I’m a commercial illustrator so culture influences my work per my clients’ request. Most of my clients are from countries outside my own, so these factors are minimal at best.
Shhh, it’s Bed Time
The Kings Advisor
The community is small but has a large voice. Most of the population has to place day-to-day survival as priority, so those of us who can find escape and make a living through art—where creativity may not appear practical, are quite passionate about this endeavor. You’ll find that our canvases are not usually imposing in scale but bold with high contrasts and bright colors.
With the opportunity for Jamaicans to enter a global community without leaving home through digital art, our passion can now be communicated through illustration, graphic design, animation, and more ways in which we express.
Abigail is an illustrator from Kingston, Jamaica. Wanting to create a world of her own, she paints lovely digital paintings of cosmic Afrocentric portraits.
There is no other way to really describe Jamaicans other than an experience. You won’t really know until you’ve witnessed it. We are a very creative and charismatic people and that’s one of the main things I really enjoy about living in Jamaica.
Jamaican culture can have a strong and lasting effect on the people witnessing it, and to me, it can be a bit overwhelming at times. It brought me to develop the theme of escapism in my work.
Sometimes our realities can get overwhelming, so my work speaks to an otherworldly experience that aims at helping you understand yourself and your place in the universe.
Dipped in Honey
The art community in Jamaica is small, but more people are embracing the importance of creativity within our culture. It’s a very open and family-like environment filled with encouragement, a filter against negative energy and a push for expression.
Kori is an illustrator and animator from Kingston, Jamaica. With a collection of cool illustrations, his work pops off the screen with great colors.
I was born and raised here so it is, and will forever be home. Whenever I’m away I always miss the air, the smell of the breeze, the food (I’m a big foodie) and the people. We are very colorful!
My work has never reflected typical Jamaican themes. But I’ve found little elements that have presented themselves in every piece I’ve done.
I try to use colors that give a tropical feel and whenever I create figures I present them in a strong light. We have been a strong force throughout history and I always try to capture that in my work.
There are more Jamaican creatives sharing their work with the world, and thanks to social media, their reach has been greater. We are able to invite audiences into our little galleries and there is a lot more constructive information on demand. Our skills are sharper, confidence higher, and we step completely out of our comfort zones.
Peta-Ann is an illustrator from Kingston, Jamaica. Her style is charmingly cute, with lovable scenes and characters for important causes you’ll want to know.
I love the food the most. Hands down. Our local foods are bursting with flavor; vegetarian, vegan, regular dishes—it doesn’t matter. It’s all delicious. You can’t help but enjoy yourself when you have a good meal.
Jamaica Association for the Deaf
Being surrounded by vibrant colors and culture shaped, I’ve wanted to infuse these influences into my work from an early age. Having (borderline overwhelming) access to North American and British media, compared to the minute Jamaican offerings that were available to children in the 1980s-1990s, made me more determined to center my Jamaican-Caribbean background in my personal work.
Jamaica Association for the Deaf
Jamaica Association for the Deaf
Young Jamaican artists are bringing their visions into more accessible spaces. Paint Jamaica, for example, groups local artists together to volunteer and paint large scale murals in inner-city communities.
Many of these younger artists also infuse their Jamaican-Caribbean background into their work. They draw attention to aspects of Jamaican culture that are often forgotten, overlooked, and underappreciated. They uplift Jamaica through their art and inspire social change.
Jey is a graphic designer living in Kingston, Jamaica. Clean and stylish, his work features brilliant flat illustrations of clever concepts and doodles.
As I went abroad, I began to appreciate the friendliness of Jamaicans and how easy it was to get along with them; they were never afraid to say what they were thinking. That friendly honesty is something that has been very helpful to me.
There is a certain freedom in Jamaican art and early on in my childhood it was very helpful. I think many artists experience a time where classmates would praise their work and you would be known as “that artsy guy/girl.”
But when you finally meet other people who have been the artists of their schools, you may respond differently. Genuinely learn from others. Jamaica’s happy makes us curious about each other’s work so we can learn from each other.
If you take a look at my art, it does not look strictly Jamaican or even Caribbean. But the openness of the art community in Jamaica almost makes it possible and I’m grateful for that.
Sophia is a graphic designer from Kingston, Jamaica. Her work features awesome trendy templates you can download on Envato Market.
Jamaica is a place where I can draw inspiration from many areas, such as nature and the vibrant Jamaican culture. I love the calm nature of the island and the never ending summers. Most of all I love the food, the mountains and the beaches.
PS Neon Styles
The Jamaican culture is very diverse. In turn, this has influenced my work by adding diversity and creativity.
3D Stitch Action
The art community is a close knit family. We inspire, push, learn and grow from each other. In addition to digital art, we also take part in activities such as art festivals and exhibitions.
Many thanks to the artists who took time to answer my questions and share a bit about themselves and how their country and/or culture has affected their work. You can check out more of their work in the links below: