For most emerging artists, living in New York City is a blessing but ironically I had to move to become the artist I want to be. I was a New Yorker for over 10 years and learned the rhythms of the city, met waves of talented dreamers that occupy the city, and felt like I was headed down the path of contributing to what made New York a special place. I also began to feel like I was too deep in the Matrix. I was ready to dedicate my life to art but my life was dedicated to too many other things. I needed a complete break from the conveniences, habits, expectations, pace, too damn high rent, and anything that prevented me from pressing the reset button on my existence.
Jamaica was the perfect way to reset myself and become a full time artist for several reasons…
- TIME was killing my productivity. I was about to explode with ideas. They were piling up in notebooks, on my phone, sketched out on junk mail, in my mind and I started to see my output falling way behind my thoughts. Any work I completed was imagined at least 12 months in advance. For example, I created this Grace Jones portrait in the middle of 2013 but I re-imagined my approach to pushpins 14 months prior…and yes it takes time to create but not that damn long. Time was like a noose around my neck suffocating my creative output.
- PUBLIC ART was always an interest but I’ve never had the opportunity to experiment freely. I wanted to figure out how to affect community with art but needed a smaller, more tangible community to test. Jamaica proved to be the right place to create impact without worrying about those flashing lights and sirens.
- My LIFESTYLE would become more balanced. I could live a life that made me more physically active, create tighter bonds with my family in Jamaica, eat healthier food, and focus my mind on creating.
- Being GLOBAL is something I aspire towards. The world is too big, the internet is too far reaching, and plane tickets are affordable enough to strive for a global presence. Living in Jamaica will give me practice to maneuver regardless of location. Hopefully being further away will open up possibilities and new considerations.
By leaving New York City, I am beginning to slowly break away chains that were tying me down mentally, spiritually, financially, and artistically. Every step further away feels like a step closer to my truest self and it feels exciting. Jamaica is granting me a playground for my creativity to flourish and a community to impact. I view this as an artist residency to acquire more experience, skills and knowledge to move freely and continue to make art that will affect people.