Sunday, 22 July 2012 02:30
By D Francis
Antigua St. John’s - Artists have been called upon to create the setting for the buyer’s impulse. The call came from Denlyn Blake in an exclusive interview with caribarena.com.
Blake said she realised that a small percentage of people appreciate art in a traditional sense, so taking her work to the next level is crucial for her continued development.
Blake said: “You have to be transitional and know who you are marketing to and where.
“In today's society, consumers want it now and a smart and profitable artist needs to create the setting for the buyer's impulse. For example, an airbrush artist makes $1 per minute, per piece. Barbers, hair stylists and nail technicians also do art; they just use different canvases and mediums and they are always in demand.”
According to Blake, to be acknowledged, an artist should be willing to observe things people use every day and place their mark on it, and that requires design and ingenuity.
She continued: “Peruse trends and niches, like tattoos, skateboards, or place your art on something extremely large or small...walls to cell phone cases. Once you place your art on different canvases. People will want to see more of your work.”
She said her art as it stands would not be able to support her if she only looks at placing them on traditional canvas, thus the reason for investing in herself by learning related skills in the field.
“I am investing in myself by learning Photoshop and Illustrator. Designing business cards, fliers and logos are in the creative field; they also provide income and repeat customers. The more marketable skills I possess, the more exposure I get. Traditional art is under-valued everywhere; however, people are innately attracted to beautiful things and are willing to pay for them, tattoos for example.”
Blake said in a few years, she hopes in to go full time with her art T-shirt and sticker printing, sneaker and vinyl toys customization.
This versatile artist said her favourite piece is a T-shirt design she’d done for a hair stylist.
“It was a fun project and I surprised myself. It’s a cleaner and simpler style that I am gearing to towards now.”
In terms of what she thinks authorities can do to build art, she quickly answered: “Schools not dropping their art programme; it’s the biggest thing the government can do, because without teaching and motivating young minds about appreciating art, it will vanish even farther. It was the art classes, books connecting with other artists and trips that were monumental in my growth.”
Blake recalled: “My earliest memory of art was a plane that said ‘Ezelle’ that my cousin Ed drew for me. Ezelle is what my family on my mother’s side calls me. Ed is short for Edison Liburd, my first cousin and a prominent artist as well. I was always doodling off and on.
“About sixth or seventh grade, I did pencil portraits of Madame C. J. Walker, Louis Armstrong and Martin Luther King for Black History Month. I was very pleased with myself and, of course, I showed them to Ed, who gave tips on shading. There was a time when Ed lived with my mother and I in New York. Ed painted T-shirts with acrylic house paints! Sometimes, he would have six shirts up at a time. That was the environment that moulded me to who I am today.”
And now, Blake, said her aspiration is to embrace her art, find her style and have fun in the process.
In her junior year of High School, Blake was admitted into Washington Irving art programme and later studied two years of art and photography at Atlantic Union College and Andrews University.
She is interested in photography, poetry, street art/ graffiti and graphic design.
“I do pencil to sketch out ideas. I like to use paint markers for their control less work and mess and I make stencils for cleaner designs and duplication.”
She said at the moment she uses art more of a hobby/hustle than a business.
For the new artists, she urged them to produce untraditional work, challenge themselves to grow by gaining new skills, and don’t overlook small opportunities.