Thursday, November 15, 2007

Jamaica Part 9 - The Artist Hawks His Wares

It kills me that I cannot remember this young man's first name............it was either Anthony or Andrew...........I really need to start keeping a notepad with me when I go on vacation. I will just have to call him Mr. Thomas.

Mr. Thomas is a young artist who just happens to hawk his wares at times on the beach property of the Sunset At The Palms Resort in Negril, Jamaica. I had a couple of rather long conversations with this painter and found him to be very smart, sincere, and determined. I shared some sales tips with him.......and he acknowledged that he has found much of what I said to be true. In Jamaica, the residents try to take advantage of every opportunity to make a few bucks............and if you have some talent, I can see where they actually HAVE an advantage over other native Jamaicans. Mr. Thomas should be making alot of money............but from what I could see on the days that I saw him, what ittle money he made came from weaving a few hats from palm fronds for a few of the tourists.

Hmmmmm....there are starving artists everywhere...........well, at least Mr. Anthony appears to be well kept and eating well. He doesn't quite fit in with those guys over at the Office Of Nature. In fact, he doesn't even set up shop over there........and instead, he displays the fruits of his talent right there on the resort property. I bet the guys over at the Office Of Nature are envious of his prime location.

A gallery on the beach.........I have never seen that on a beach before...........well......except for maybe those huge "gallery" shops on the boardwalk in Ocean City, MD. I never could understand the connection between the beach and those shops in O.C..............but seeing this particular set-up.......I CAN understand this one being on the beach in Jamaica. Ordinarily, one would not equate paintings on any beach.......but this is Jamaica. You gotta put your stuff in front of their faces.........this is strictly impulse sales. But paintings?

I told Mr. Johnson that his work is extremely colorful......an obvious reflection of his Jamaican life. You can see these colors everywhere here........on the houses......the clothing........you name it.
Supernurse was right.......she said the black and white paintings were the best..........I agreed. Mr. Thomas asked me why that is........he said he had noticed that people seem to be more interested in those. I explained that in the United States, while we love color, we also tend to lean in the direction of being color-coordinated. Black and white paintings always fit perfectly in any room regardless of the colors surrounding them. He nodded in agreement. He told me that it was good news for him because he can paint the black and white ones quicker than the multi-colored ones. Less cleaning of brushes...........less time spent painting......more time selling.

His style is very distinct. My eyes became glued to his work. I had to take a picture of everything. Not to copy them later........but to remember them and see them again. I, of course, told him that I would dedicate an entry on my blog, to him and his paintings. His eyes lit up........and I could see his dreams right then and there. Deep down inside of every artist, no matter what kind of art they might be adept at..........there is only one desire............to share their work with others. They want people to hear them.......see them.........taste them. Even if there isn't much money involved.

A style within a style......on this one.

Most of the paintings were pretty sizable. He told me that the smaller ones the tourists like the most........he did not understand why that was. I explained to him that the average person would not realize that they could get the larger paintings back home with them on the plane........they seem to large to tote around. He said that he takes them off their wood supports and rolls them up. I told him that not everybody has that in their heads when they see them on the beach. That explains why they are attracted to the smaller ones...........they KNOW they can take them home with them.

We also spoke about some political matters and the war. A security guard had joined the conversation. They only know about the United States via what they have seen in movies and on television. I explained that if I came to an opinion of Jamaica solely based upon tv news or movies......I might have never come there. They both nodded. I did find their perspectives interesting though. They both indicated that they understood the tactics being used by the terrorists and the radicals that are in the way of success in Iraq. They are doing exactly what some of the people of Jamaica would do against any armies that try to seize control. They both said....."no military can fight no military". They are correct. Unless we have another army to fight.......we can never win. Their perspective regarding the economy was interesting. I had to explain to them that the middle class is being squeezed out of the picture in the USA......just as there is no middle class in Jamaica or any other third world nation. They seemed a bit surprised upon hearing that. They had no idea about the heavy taxation we have in the US. They both stated that back in the 80s, there were droves of Americans coming to Jamaica, and that lately it seems to have come down to a trickle. I told them that less people can afford to come. The average Jamaican that I spoke to on the beach spoke as if they thought I was wealthy. They thought that any American that was on that beach was rich. Compared to them?.........I can see why they think that way. But in reality?........well.......you should see the looks on their faces when I tell them what it costs us for electricity every month......car payments, insurance, rent...food, medicine......etc. Now we have a whole new ball game, RastaMan!


It's kinda weird, isn't it?
Me.....standing on the beach in Jamaica, talking politics, art, and economics and war.....with a painter and a security guard.............go figure.

One thing about Jamaicans.........they are in no hurry for anything. "Soon Come"..........yeah, right!


You gotta love these paintings though. I felt bad for Mr. Thomas because the rain never abided by the "soon come" way of Jamaica. The rain came quick.......and it kept on coming. Mr. Thomas says that his stuff holds up pretty well in the weather and he tries to be under the trees. When it gets too bad, he packs it up for another day.

Nice....ain't it?
This particular one caught my eye.........take a look at it carefully and see if you see what it is that is "special"about this one........................okay.....did you see them? Look at the part of the sky that is blue........do you see that set of eyes staring back at you?
Okay......okay.....I know that those are birds.........hehehe.

I should have bought that one................but hey.........I might could paint that my own self one day.


I told Mr. Thomas that he shall be known "world-wide" now. And just maybe.......someone might see this blog and come for a visit to see him.

Almost the same painting as one of those earlier above here on this page........but there is a difference.

I appreciate eye-catching artwork.

The world in the mind of an artist.........it's his world............and he wants to share it with everyone.............and I am helping him get his world seen. I love how that works :)

The paintings were so much a part of the scenery that day. They never once took away from the beauty of their surroundings..............they, in fact, added a little bit of their own beauty to the bigger picture.

Jamaican life by a Jamaican artist.

He sold a few!.....Good going Mr. Thomas!

I don't know how this story ends.....except that we both packed it all up for another day. He.....packed up his paintings..........Me?.......I packed my bags and headed home soon thereafter.

Stay Tuned.......I still have a little bit more to come.
Next Up: Jamaica Part 10

2 comments:

  1. Hi, just so you know his name was Anthony! Me and my fiance went to SSATP Negril in August 07, and I got chatting to him for a while myself, really nice guy. We bought one of his black and white paintings, and is a great momento of the visit as well as a great painting that we treasure. I was just looking through some old negril photos which spurred me on a googling session to find more on Anthony, and here I am! Strange hey. ( http://flickr.com/photos/24458089@N02/2316064323/ )

    Just had to leave a comment to a fellow fan!

    Kind Regards
    David

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  2. David,
    I am glad you found your way to this blog. Thanks for giving me his name.....yes...it was Anthony! Since there are only few of us who have had the pleasure of being at SATP it is important for us to tell the world about it. For people such as Anthony, it is even better for him for us to do so. I am glad you enjoyed your trip. Thanks for the link!

    Signtopia

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