In this second post on the upcoming Young Talent V exhibition, we feature the painter Michael “Flyn” Elliott.
Michael Elliott (or Flyn, as he is known to many in the art world) was born in Manchester, Jamaica in 1979. He was interested in art from an early age and in 1998 registered at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, where he studied painting and became attracted to photo-realism, which he initially used to document the physical environment of Jamaica. Photography has played an important role in the development of Michael’s work and most of his paintings are based on his own photographs.
In the years following art school, Michael grew an awareness of current affairs and social issues, not only in Jamaica but globally, and would seek to represent these by means of realistically painted symbols, including such disturbing images as dead, bloodied rats and chopped meat. The use of close-up views adds to the shock-effect of these images, as it confronts the viewer more directly with their disturbing character and underlying messages.
Michael does not limit himself to depicting the macabre, however, and also paints images that are more moody and poetic, whether scenery or still life, although these also carry implied social messages: his train series for example explores the shattered hopes about Jamaica’s defunct railway system, which was once a source of national pride, and, by implication, the broader economic challenges facing contemporary Jamaica.
Michael has exhibited regularly since graduating from the Edna Manley College in 2002, including the Annual National (2002) and the National Biennial (2006, 2008) at the NGJ, and various Mutual Gallery exhibitions, such as Young Generation. He has also received a Silver Medal in the 2008 JCDC/NGJ National Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition. He had his first solo exhibition at the CAG[e] Gallery of the Edna Manley College in 2008.