We continue our posts on the recently concluded Anything with Nothing: Art from the Streets of Urban Jamaica exhibition with a feature on Michael Robinson, another of the artists in that exhibition:
Based in Denham Town Robinson is the only artist in the exhibition with some formal art training having spent a year at the Edna Manley College (then Jamaica School of Art). Robinson does a lot of community commissions including work in schools, businesses, and the Wall of Fame near the National Stadium. Jimmy Cliff is one of his patrons and he makes his living exclusively off his artwork. He also has a number of young apprentices. For the exhibition he has painted portraits of Jimmy Cliff and Nelson Mandela and a Reggae Dance.
He stated in a recent interview:
“I started from a tender age, a small, small kid. Growing up I always used chalk and sketched up things on the road, some little cartoon and things. There was a talent search in my community and I got sponsored to go to the Jamaica School of Art. When I went to the School of Art what they were teaching me I already knew it… I left school before finishing – I did three semesters.”
“I never tell myself that I can’t do something. Because the day you tell yourself you can’t then you you down grade yourself. You have to just say bwoy, I can do that…. I want to reach heights in the arts. You see money, it’s not really about money, it’s just the greatness. I people to recognize my work and say boy, ah Michael Robinson that… Sometimes people pass by my painting and say ‘ah who dat?’ I don’t like to hear that, and as soon as I hear it I leave my food and go back to the painting ‘cause people are telling me that the paintings not ready. Because it’s the critics that teach me my work ‘cause you see critics make you learn.”