Jamaican Artist Taj Francis Speaks about His Work

Artist Taj Francis was recently interviewed by Garfene Grandison for the Gleaner.  Born in Kingston, the artist has lived in Spanish Town, St Catherine, for most of his life. He is presently enrolled at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. He credits his parents for instilling a passion for art. Here are excerpts with a link to the full interview below:

The Gleaner (G): How long have you been in this field?

Taj Francis (TF): I can’t really put a definite start date on when I started, but I would have to say I’ve been officially doing illustration and graphic design for about two years. 

G: Why this career path?

TF: It’s what I’ve wanted to do my entire life. Most children, when asked what they wanted to do, just say doctor or lawyer as a template, because those are the careers that have been programmed in their minds as meaningful career paths. But how many of them are actually pursuing it now? [. . .] Nearing the end of my high school years, I met one of my uncles, graphic designer and photographer Seymour Watson-Grant. He was one of my major encouragements for my career path and going to art school – the best decision I’ve made in terms of what I want to do with my future. Thanks to his influence.

G: What are you currently doing to further develop your ambitions for your career path?

TF: I’m always learning or researching art and keeping up to date with styles of art and the concepts and ideas people are coming up with around the world. I continue to develop my craft and try to learn new things and new ways of creating a particular piece of work. I’m also trying to learn new skills in art. I probably want to explore motion graphics, animation and architectural design.

G: What do you hope to achieve in 10 years?

TF: [. . .] Truthfully though, I want to have an established name as an artist and have artwork shown all over the world. I’m not particular to working in a graphic studio, or media company, I just want to freelance or establish my own media house. I hope to own my own studio and work from there. I’m more inclined to do fine arts rather than always working commercially. Doing commissions can become tedious and I may not get as much freedom as I would want. Hopefully, my work will enable me to travel a lot and see new places and get more inspiration. I also have my brand called J.!Nk clothing, which I co-own with my business partner, Randall Richards, and we hope it will develop on a much larger scale, but not to be a ‘sell out’ brand that’s just massed produced and seen in every corner store. I would like it to retain its level of quality and originality while still being desired by a mass of people.

G: What drives and inspires your career path?

TF: I am driven to work by my own passion for what I do and to continue developing as an artist and a designer. I have a love for music. I get my inspiration from music mostly. The concept of a song, a particular lyric or line, the emotion of the song as well, these are the kind of things that inspire me. I’m really into hip-hop and reggae, but not the generic, everyday hip-hop everyone listens to; that provides no inspiration for me at all. I would have to say my favourite artiste of all time is Lupe Fiasco and then Damian Marley, at a close second. They do the kind of music that inspires me to do what I do. I have a deep appreciation for quality and superlative effort in whatever it is someone is doing. That alone is a big inspiration for me.

G: Besides access to education, what do you think needs to be done in order to transform youth in Jamaica?

TF: The youth also need encouragement and the nurturing of an interest into a passion.

For full interview, see http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20101022/ent/ent1.html

See more on the artist at http://www.creativetempest.com/illustration/taj-francis/

One thought on “Jamaican Artist Taj Francis Speaks about His Work

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s