Danny Coxon – Sugar Minott (c2013, Lyndhurst Road) – Photo: LeRhone Webb)
Donovan “Danny Coxon” McLeod is another of the artists featured in the Anything with Nothing exhibition. Originally from Matthews Lane, McLeod now lives and works at Sugar Minott’s studio. He paints memorial murals as well as commissions for the music industry and has done a large set of murals at Minott’s studios. Almost all of his memorial murals have been painted over by the police. His work varies from flat stylized paintings to carefully rendered realistic work. For the exhibition he has painted a number of reggae musicians, Sugar Minott, Denis Brown and Luciano.
Danny Coxon – Musicians (Lyndhurst Road) – Photo: LeRhone Webb
Danny Coxon told us:
“Been an artist for almost 35 years now. It’s not been easy. I have to really work hard to really get to a standard, and I’m not really sure of how I really get to this stage because I haven’t done a lot of work…but I feel God’s inspiration allowed me to reach a standard acceptable to people.”
“I hope something can come out of this – I’ve been doing this thing here for how long? When I come and see some of the things in the Gallery it come in like me nah try – but the good man says not to compare yourself with others because you will become vain and bitter and have less interest in your own career.”
“My community is so poor I wouldn’t say I get commission to do work – when you say commissioned to do work it sounds like something substantial you know what I mean. Sometimes they want a wall to pretty up and I will do it for them. You can’t dictate the paint; paint is a thing that makes you learn patience. It doesn’t pay a lot of money and its hard work but I keep doing it because one of the reasons I am sure of is that nobody else in the area can do it as well as I can… That little pride in knowing that I’m the best. You know when you look around Denham Town you can find only two or three other men who can really put it together and to know that I’m one of them makes me feel good.”
Sand at his cook shop
Dion Palmer “Sand” is another of the ten artists in the Anything with Nothing exhibition. Here is a short feature on his work:
Palmer works out of a small cook shop near Parade and was one of the key artists to have emerged from Roktowa before its close. Often associated with the Intuitives, he does highly imaginative paintings and is the only artist in the exhibition to have previously shown his work at the National Gallery. For the exhibition he has produced five paintings whose subject matter varies from imaginary birds to a human head to a crocodile.
Sand said this about his work:
“Give thanks and praise. I and I man name Sand, that’s my artist name but my real name is Dion DaCosta Palmer you know. How did I get the name Sand – I used to carry sand from a nearby river. Artwork comes in like it grows in me because my step father used to do carving, chopping wood and things like to build sculptures, some great powerful lion. What inspires my work – pain and anger, war and judgement and fight – all of those things – my paintings show pure love and joy that come out of the Psalms. I just live art – it is dream I’m dreaming – art work comes from so far, so deep.”
Cleaver Cunningham – Donavan M. (c2010, Pembroke Hall) – photo: LeRhone Webb
Here is a feature on Cleaver Cunningham, one of the artists in the Anything with Nothing exhibition:
Based in Pembroke Hall, off Washington Boulevard, Cunningham paints memorial murals largely using airbrush. The portraits often include images of status objects owned or desired by the subjects of the murals. For the exhibition he is painting a number of car bonnets, with images including Miss Lou, Ananda Dean and an elderly woman.
Cleaver Cunningham – Miss Lou (2014, in exhibition) – photo: LeRhone Webb
He had the following to say:
“…been doing murals from I understand myself – ‘bout 14 – meaning I understand wrong from right. I had an uncle who was an artist that I followed up and down – I wash out the paint brush but I never really get to touch nothing. So him fly out and gone ah foreign so I decide to try it out and it work out myself. He was a paint brush artist. I ended up follow my girlfriend one day to go to a hair salon and I see an airbrush magazine, so from there I fall in love with it. I had an aunt in America and I begged her two airbrushes but when I got the airbrushes I didn’t know it worked with a compressor. So I was youth that loved to do the little stunts on the bicycle so I asked my mother for a compressor but it was too dear so I ended up having to sell the stunt bicycle and buy the compressor…”
Kemar Black at work on The Creation
Kingston-based Fashion designer, musician and street artist is one of 10 artists presently featured in the National Gallery of Jamaica’s Anything with Nothing exhibition. Below is a short interview with him, produced with much-appreciated assistance from the African-Caribbean Institute of Jamaica/Jamaica Memory Bank.
An artist and entrepreneur from “up-town and down-town”, Black was associated with Roktowa, an arts initiative based in the old Red Stripe Brewery on West Street. He designs dancehall fashion and writes music and poetry. For the exhibition he has painted four large scale versions of his dancehall fashion drawings entitled The Creation.
Kemar had the following to say: “…Doing artwork from the day my mother shove me out the womb – from me born me ah artist – from day one. Am mostly self-taught but my father is an artist, Winston Black, for years I always see my father draw and I just soaked it up. Most of my work is abstract ’cause I like to create what nobody else see. In my view the greatest artist in the world, God, I get my mediation from. So most of the time I think about the creation of the universe… to me everything is art – ’cause everything get created – you would have to be an artist to really create something…whether you are a person that writes poetry, paint, sculpt, draw or you are a doctor and create prosthetic limbs or you design cars… because even now they use certain artists like Basquiat to do the interior for certain cars like the Aston Martin… So because of those things there it always shows that without art life is not the same because life is art and art imitate life. I design clothes. I have a fashion line, I do music, poetry, I make beats…”
Kemar Black – Untitled (c2012, Luke Lane, Kingston) – Photo: LeRhone Webb
Anthony Brown – Janice (photo: Olivia McGilchrist)
The National Gallery of Jamaica is pleased to present Anything with Nothing: Art from the Streets of Urban Jamaica, an exhibition of street art from Kingston and environs. The exhibition will open at the National Gallery on May 25 and will remain on view until July 11.
Anything with Nothing, which was curated by National Gallery Chief Curator Charles Campbell and Assistant Curator, Monique Barnett-Davidson, will feature specially commissioned work by ten of Jamaica’s notable street artists, as well as photographic and video documentation of art in inner city communities, the artists and the making of their work. Highlighting phenomena such as memorial murals, the valorization of community and political heroes, and Rastafari-influenced works, the exhibition seeks to recognize these murals as an important artistic and social phenomenon that has a major impact on the visual culture of the island and the communities in which they reside.
Michael Robinson – Selassie (photo: Olivia McGilchrist)
Matthew McCarty – I Took the Liberty of Designing One (2013)
Matthew McCarthy is a Jamaica-based illustrator and mural painter who has spent the last five years finding a way to combine his obsession with Jamaican street signs, old school dancehall illustrations and global street art movements. His style and overall message have been influenced by local and global happenings, which fuel his enormous need to formulate satire around interesting topics.
Matthew McCarthy – detail of Put That on Page Two (2013), site-specific installation
Hear oh heavens and give me ear. I have nourished and reared these indigo children and they have rebelled against me.