JAMAICAN STREET ARTIST TAKES ON EUROPE
Across the Jamaican landscape it is quite common to run into somebody who displays or verbalises incredible insights about creativity and its power. In a land where being a performer of any kind of artist can earn you a voice to address the nation directly, having something meaningful to say is important. Throughout History this voice stands parallel to the voice of national, political and social giants, bridging the gap between what is law and what is natural. It is these insights that have lead great minds and creatives such as Bob Marley, Walter Rodney and Marcus Garvey towards achieving a global audience hungry for what this insight may bring. Whether it is in the form of Songs, Paintings, Publications, Film, Theatre etc, the Jamaican or even Caribbean insight has been a timeless addition to global culture, walking many paths and many continents, delivering ideas that have become fuel for a growing international social and spiritual elevation.
My name is Matthew McCarthy. I am a 23 year old visual artist living and working in Kingston Jamaica. At a very young age I developed an intense fascination with two very distinct aspects of my culture. Our natural ability to fix any physical object and our unique visual aesthetic on the front of corner shops, street dance posters, sign boards and community leader memorials. This intense fascination coupled with a rapidly developing interests in art taught me how to pull things apart and then put them back together “with style”. Now as a Streets Artist / Muralist and illustrator I have consolidated my obsession with Jamaican street signs, old school dancehall illustrations and global street art movements through an art practice that engages and challenges the traditional art institution as well as all peoples of all ages on a “street level”.
Since graduating from the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing arts in 2013, I have exhibited at the National Gallery of Jamaica in the new roots (2013) exhibition of ten emerging artists, and been a key figure in the development of street art in Jamaica, via first the New Jamaica project and later the Paint Jamaica initiative of developing street art on the island. Both projects were collaborate efforts between a pool of young Jamaican artists, eager and willing voluntaries and our project co-ordinator Marianna Farag, who’s vision acted as a major catalyst in this process. Both projects focused largely on street art in communities, using it as a means of social change. Walls that once bore the marks of opposing politicalise parties, fuelling the negative aspects of urban tribalism are now transformed into mediums of artistic expression. My work looks at issues as well as the strengths of how we connect in our social spaces. I use our nation language/ thoughts coupled with paint as my tools, against public walls. My aim is to help issue a new pair of eyes for those lacking in “eye-deals”
New Jamaica project : https://www.facebook.com/NewJamaica?fref=ts
Paint Jamaica project : https://www.facebook.com/paintjamaica?fref=ts
My personal ideas of what “come – unity” means has been moulded alongside fellow artists of many disciplines on the island and great minds dreaming of powerful breakthroughs in local and even regional expression. Unity will come but first we must make attempts to build. Alongside the Ancient futuristic sounds of Dj Iset Sankofa and the Dynamic vision of Joan Webley’s Local Creative hub Nanook, we Hosted a weekly event which brings live music and music from various spaces globally. It also featured Live Painting, artistic craft displays and culinary delights in an attempt to create a safe space for creativity to roam freely. To date the event has garnered much global support and attention and facilitated connecting various minds in the community with the necessary conversation space to meet collaborators, investors and even life partners. Recently paused to facilitate new developments, the project has yielded a result of over 76 artworks.
Following the events pause, Nanook enterprises, recognising the need for this creative energy to be channeled into global exposure, decided to go “Up”. Up or united purpose is a festival celebrating the power and possibility of united purpose in the creative collective of Jamaica. The united purpose tour is a unique traveling showcase of the brilliance of Jamaican creativity and talent. It is also a demonstration of the power of United Purpose as an effective means of achieving personal and collective goals. The Tour begins in July of 2015 onwards to August 2015. In essence we are setting out to travel to various festivals across Europe with various products, created within the creative community. Our teams is comprised of various individuals from the local artistic community who have all individually crafted their disciplines towards benefiting the wider community.
Our List of Tour Locations are
Millerntor Gallery- Germany
GTS St. Pauli Primary Highschool – Germany
HLG Highschool- Germany
Kun St.Pauli Gallery- Germany
Ms Stubnitz- Germany
Reggae Jam- Germany
As a participating artist I have developed my own sub-project to contribute to this venture. called “accept to affect”
“ Accept to affect” defines the mind set and ability of Jamaican’s to thrive in harsh environments through creative reinterpretations of social issues in music, art, drama etc.It is my desire to explore how this outlook actually parallels the philosophies and ideals of spiritual leaders and peace-makers around the world. This is in a greater aim to lift the negative and violent label placed on the island by presenting a side of Jamaican lifestyle and philosophy that is not normally understood due to language and cultural barriers.
During this tour I have been invited to paint various murals at these festivals and locations. It is also my desire to sell merchandise from the works I produce in order to help defray expenses.
My need for this funding is to cover minor travel expenses, development and production of prints for posters, t-shirts, postcards, catalogs and stickers. My contribution of merchandise is featured in the Nanook shop which will also feature products contributed by other community members ( most production will take place in Germany )
For your willingness to support the vision I want to say thank you in advance. During my travels I will be giving regular updates on my facebook page and instagram, Follow the journey here: