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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Abeng Interviews Javere Irie: Art Imitates Life

 Javere Irie: Art Illustrates Life


Artist Javere Irie is a cartoonist with a keen eye for the dramatic. His art invigorates and propels the imagination. The artist has a knack for capturing moments in popular culture and making the images reflect his own narrative.
Javere was born in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica and now resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Abeng:  So, Javere, how old were you when you first began drawing/painting? What led or drew you to art? Where are you from?

I’m not sure exactly when, but my parents say all my life. I’ve be drawing since I could hold a pencil. 

Which Jamaican or Caribbean or Black artists have inspired you?

Basquiat in terms of raw expressive-ness and Bob Marley for his ability to use his art to unite people, elevate Jamaica and fight injustice world-wide.

Which is your favorite medium or style? 

Illustration! Nothing beats a pencil, and recently illustration markers have been my latest obsession. 
Where do you draw I inspiration?

I would say exploring cultures. The brightness and colors of Jamaica in general definitely inspires me. I’m also intrigued by pop culture and the influence Africa and Jamaica has on it, (from fashion to music), as well as exploring how we view Black culture. 

Have you done any exhibits? 

Yes, I’ve participated in 7 group exhibitions, 5 in New York, 1 in Washington, DC, and 1 in Connecticut.

Have you met any interesting people or visited any intriguing places through your art?

Not personally, but while in college I won an art contest to have my work exhibited in Gov. Cuomo’s Washington DC Office. 

What would you say has been your strongest muse or meditation?

Music (reggae, hip hop and r&b), and animated series like The Proud Family, Teen Titans and Avatar: The Last Airbender always inspire me.

Is your family artistic? Where do you derive your talent?

Yes, my mother is an overall creative being, and her side is very creative as well. Ex. I have an aunt who is a celeb makeup artist in NYC, and an uncle who danced/ choreographs for the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica and is a university professor of dance in the US and JA, 2 cousins who have designer cake businesses, and many more who are creative, but recreationally. 

Where do you want your art to go? What are your aspirations?

In the long term I’d like to move into animation. I want to create projects that challenge and re-conceptualize the black narrative. I want people to see my work and see beyond the stereotypes they have of Black people. We are too multifaceted to be seen through the limited lens that stereotypes provide. Just like any other group of people we are more than that. I think expanding the narrative allows other people to relate and see our humanity. I think a lot of social issues feed on how easily we dehumanize those who are different from us. If we start to break that down, maybe we can relate a little more over our similarities, and not feel threatened by our differences. 

Finish this sentence:
My love is .....

My love is learning. I consume through my art, and share what I learn visually. 
Thanks, Kaya! You provided some very thoughtful questions. 

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