My work employs various printmaking techniques to create large scale images that reference culturally specific representations of my family’s immigration from St. Lucia to Miami, Florida.
Experimentation with layers of color and forms through collaging different materials, allows me to create a space to explore emotional responses to memories of home and family. At the age of three I emigrated to America from St. Lucia, not realizing the rich sense of culture I had left behind until my return as an adult fifteen years later.
I seek to create a hybrid visual language that allows me to explore heavily layered color and form through collage techniques in contemporary printmaking. My combining of different printmaking techniques, such as gelliplate printing and silkscreen, reflects the multiculturalism I experience as a Caribbean immigrant. On top of traditional printmaking methodologies, I also employ digital printing and traditional drawing processes such as soft pastel, air brushing, and acrylic painting. I begin my work by making a series of small gelliplate prints using stencils created from the maps of places I either visited or lived at while on the island. I then scan the initial layers of my prints and print the image onto a substrate (cold-press watercolor paper) and then work back into the piece with hand drawing elements. These varying artistic methods come together to implicitly describe my relationship to the Island of St. Lucia both in past and current experiences. Map-making is the foundation of my chosen imagery, supplemented by culturally specific motifs such as the pattern and colors of Madras fabric, which is a creole textile used during the celebration of Joune Kweyol (National Creole Day). Each layer reacts to the previous layer, which informs me what actions to take next in the work. For this, I have to be willing to have less control over the materials as chance occurrences force me to think about how I approach my work.
My process is initially intuitive, every layer or mark I make is a response to the piece as a whole or to a previous layer. My goal is to repeat my process of layering, reacting through mark-making, and layering again, to eventually create a formally resolved pictorial balance within the work. I am influenced by the techniques and use of maps in the paintings of contemporary artists Landon Mackenzie, Ingrid Calame and Mark Bradford. Each of these artists have a unique way of deconstructing maps. Similar to myself, Mackenzie layers her pieces with color, line and texture. Her work tells a story of places she has explored that inspire her both personally and culturally. Calame’s work is filled with line, mark-making and color. The way she records the positive and negative spaces that may be seen on the map is what resonates with me most. Braford’s work displays another way of deconstructing the map. In his giant-scale mixed media works he integrates rubbings, tracings, and a variety of layering techniques which is an aspect I plan on presenting in my work.
During my most recent trip back to St. Lucia in 2019, I experienced the culture more in depth, for the first time without grief. I noticed the beauty of the island on another level. I did a “round the island” tour, which brings you to some of the hot spots of the island (the Sulphur springs, the waterfalls, the beautiful beaches). I also had the opportunity to experience carnival. The array of colors in each carnival band was inspiring. I pocketed everything I saw, bringing the influence of color back to Miami with me, colors that are working their way into my current practice.
Finally, in my work, the fragments of colored and layered forms combine, yet leave a history and trace of their existence. They create a tapestry of my past, my present, and possibly a map to my future.