Duration: Five months. I started working full time as an illustrator in April 2020.
Location: Toronto, Ontario.
Education: Bachelor of Design with honors, York University in Toronto, Ontario, and Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario.
Career path: I’ve always loved art but was intimidated by the idea of pursuing it. I was very shy and thought my lack of interpersonal skills—specifically in networking—would set me up for failure. So, I decided to go to school for toxicology, which I thought was a safer option. Then, there was a moment during high school when someone said, “Do what you love and everything else will follow.” That was sobering for me. I completely switched my career path at the last minute and went to school for design.
Artistic influences: I grew up in a Trinidadian household with many women who have strong personalities, which translated into my work as I mainly do portraits of women. As my mother is an artist herself, she introduced me to Renaissance art, specifically its portraiture. I immediately fell in love with the style and wanted to create work with the same amount of elegance and drama. Traditional Japanese art has been a big influence on my work as well; I discovered the art style during my first year at university and incorporated it into my own style.
Favorite projects: My installation and custom illustration for Union Station’s exhibit 143 (I Love You), which was the largest size I’d ever seen my work in before. I had created an illustration of a Black family that took up an entire wall in Canada’s largest transportation hub. It was humbling and amazing to know that thousands of people would see a positive, contemporary representation of a Black family.
The Nike Jordan project was also an important milestone in my life. It was the first commercial project I did with a company I loved, and it gave me the motivation to keep going.
Work environment: I live with my parents who are both Trinidadian, so the cultural environment of my workspace always feels grounding. I have a desk in my room where I do all my work.
Approach: As I mentioned before, my mother is an artist herself and has helped me tremendously with my technique. Because of those fundamental teachings, I’ve been able to create a unique illustration style. However, I think what distinguishes my approach is my upbringing and my relationship with God, which plays a big part in the creative choices I make in my work. From the projects I take on to the subject matter of my personal illustrations, I always spend time in prayer to gain guidance and direction on how I should use the gift of creativity that God has given me.
Aspirations: I see myself doing a lot more international work, fine art paintings and designing my own shoe!
Philosophy: That my work has nothing to do with me, but everything to do with Christ being glorified. He knows what is best for my career more than I do.
Anything else? Although many people think I’m self taught, from grade 7 to grade 12, I actually went to an arts program called CyberARTS. I attended the one at Don Mills Collegiate Institute, which helped me develop my skills in digital arts and fine art. I don’t think my art would look the way it does today if I had not joined that program.