Discover Aeron Cargill, a Jamaican artist, born and raised in St Andrew. His anthropomorphic nature series, boasts his unique style, interlacing animals and humans. Aeron takes inspiration from Isaac Mendes Belisario who ” created a surreal version of old world Jamaica that is whimsical yet hints at the sad reality of colonialism in Jamaica” he said. There is an atypical atmosphere in this series, with an emotional quality – pointing to the question of slavery’s legacy and what it means in today’s context.
C – Who is Aeron Cargill? When did you start making art ? Tell me about yourself.
A – I had a natural interest in the visual arts and so from a very early age and I practiced and developed my talent simply for fun, then it became a part of my identity and then my secular pursuit.
I never imagined myself doing anything else as a job and my work earned me a scholarship to the University of the West Indies in 2001 because of achieving the highest grade in the Caribbean for Visual Arts 2D in the CXC exams.
C – You’ve got a unique style. What inspires you? What is your main art inspiration?
A – I have had many inspirations over the years but much of it lies in the works of Caravaggio, Albrecht Dürer, the romanticism movement of the 18th century, Gustave Doré, and some modern day pop surrealism works by Mark Ryden and others, as well as films like Lemony Snicket.
I utilize some of the visual languages learned from those various sources and apply them to Caribbean themes. My wife too is a source of inspiration too because of her work ethic and positive spirit. My main inspiration lies in the love of the whimsical, the mood you get on the first rainy day you have had in a while. Or standing in the fog and mist of places like Portland Gap (in The Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park), Bogwalk gorge (jamaica city), and somewhere in the cockpit country all in Jamaica.
C – How the Caribbean culture influences your artwork? You seem to be a dedicated artist. What message do you want to share with your paintings?
A – Through my work, I would like to focus the viewer on the positive aspects of our past. Many serious themes have been successfully addressed in the Caribbean art I have seen for a long time now and fewer positive aspects.
So my intent to is to produce work that reminds us that we have a lot to be appreciative of in spite of the ugly side of history.
C – Can you explain to me your career path? Are you in Florida? What is your job currently? What are your future projects?
A – I currently reside in Florida, and I currently work as a freelance illustrator for children’s books, magazines, and I also provide concept art for various types of projects.
I also do graphic design work such as branding and more. Ideally, I would love to remain a freelancer and do more editorial illustration, portrait painting, and drawing. I am also experimenting with traditionally made optical illusions as a new exciting way to immerse art lovers into my world.
My future projects also include the launch of two books that are based on Jamaican culture. One book is Illustrated Jamaican Proverbs and Sayings that hilariously interprets the proverbs while teaching patois and the life lessons in the proverbs. The other, that I’m excited about, well, you and your audience would have to follow me on Instagram to find out about it in due course.
C – What is the favorite artwork you’ve made? Why?
My favorite is the next piece really, but the Dr. Bird is my favorite for the fact that no one seems to mind that I painted it in Photoshop, which I believe shows that there is less and less stigma around digital painting as a bonafide fine art medium.
It is also a culmination of years of chasing my own personal style and it reassures me that there is an audience that appreciates the visual aesthetics and sense of wonder I am interested in.
C – Have you ever hold exhibitions? If yes, where, when? Are there any upcoming exhibitions?
A – No solo exhibitions planned yet but I do hope to participate in a few exhibitions and competitions here in the US. I have been in a number over the years including the JCDC National Visual Art Competition and Exhibition and The Biennial Exhibition both hosted by the National Gallery of Jamaica between 2007 and 2014.
Aeron give us a breath of fresh air, with his interpretation of our caribbean common past : slavery. Thanks to him, we can put words and visuals on feelings, and take the best of this : us, our mixed culture.
Follow Aeron on his social media >
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