Jul 25, 2014
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Visual Culture: Paint Jamaica Re-Imagines Downtown Kingston

Words by Michellee Nelson


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Visual Culture: Taj Francis’ TENFOLD: Opus Series

Words by Saxon Baird—


Taj Francis, who was featured in our Toppa Ten Jamaican Artists You Should Know spotlight last year, has been catching our eyes for a minute now with his psychedelic, reggae-meets-anime style. The Jamaican music world has taken note as well. His work graced the cover of Protoje’s album The 8-Year Affair last year and, in 2012, Francis was a winner in the inaugural International Reggae Poster Contest.

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In the LargeUp Store: Ninjaman Prints by Lord Blakely

Words by Jesse Serwer—

Drawing from his love of dancehall music, early animation, European history, Saturday morning cartoons and the collision of cultures, Portland, Oregon-based Blakely Dadson, a/k/a Lord Blakely, creates realistic, often fantastical, scenes that somehow incorporate all those diverse interests.

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Visual Vibration: Bob Marley x Shepard Fairey

Words by Natalie Weiner—bob-marley-shepard-fairey

Bob Marley’s image has become almost as important a part of his legacy as his music—both are ubiquitous worldwide, and accordingly represent many people’s first exposure to Jamaican music and culture. Now, Bob Marley: Giant, an exhibit currently at the Known Gallery in L.A., aims to shed new light on the face that’s inspired so much more than just countless red, yellow, and green t-shirts.

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Fashion Fridays: “To The Moon” Tees From Gazoo + Dope Life

Words by Marcha M. Johnson—


From designer catalogs to airports, clubs and even his very own café in Bushwick, Palates, the diversity of mediums through which “The Black Sand Artist” Jason “Gazoo” Allen‘s work manifests itself seems limitless. His aesthetic, inspired by his Caribbean heritage from the island of Montserrat, can even be seen in music videos by Ryan Leslie, Rune RK, and, most recently, Mr. Vegas. The just-released clip for Vegas’ “Party Tun Up” featuring Sean Paul and Fatman Scoop was shot at WIP Night Club, where Gazoo served as art director (though you may know it better as the spot where Drake and Chris Brown duked it out over Rihanna). Check the video below.

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Top Honors: The Poetry + Art of St. Lucia’s Derek Walcott

Words by Natalie Weiner–derek-walcott-documentary

As St. Lucia celebrates its 35th anniversary of independence this year, its culture is about to get a big New York closeup. If you’ve ever wondered about the island’s literature, music, or art, this is definitely the moment to check it out. Upcoming festivities around New York commemorating the 35th anniversary of St. Lucia’s independence on Feb. 22 include concerts, lectures, an art exhibit at the St. Lucian embassy, and a black-tie gala.

The anniversary celebrations coincide with a revival of interest in one of the island’s most notable cultural figures, Derek Walcott. One of the most important creative voices to come out of the Caribbean in the 20th century, the 1992 winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature has explored island life and post-colonial culture through plays, poetry, essays, and paintings. Walcott’s work is inspired by the natural and cultural beauty around him. In his words, “from the time I was a child I knew it was beautiful. If you go to a peak anywhere in St. Lucia, you feel a simultaneous newness and sense of timelessness at the same time—the presence of where you are. It’s a primal thing and it has always been that way.”

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