I have always been encouraged by the wealth of art interpretations displayed in various forms by many Bahamians. And it is just as overwhelming to finally catch up with a youngster who is not only a cartoonist but multi-talented, business minded and truly cares about society’s destiny.
What do you say when a young artist by the name of Justice Dean, asked what he does, says: “Everything”. The key is to be able to participate in a conversation that makes your readers/listeners perk up, and engage you in a more meaningful discussion. This gifted 17 year-old, who is 6ft, 6in tall and affectionately called ‘Lilraph’, did just that.
He is overly intelligent, and knows exactly what he wants. This popular football player has boldly confessed that he still expects an honest feedback from his proud parents, Rafel Dean and Keisha Richardson, whenever he completes his art work.
Talking with him is not a joke, as he not only chooses his words carefully but never seems to miss a beat. Here are some thoughts he has offered to share about the journey of his art form.
Question: When did you first start to draw, and what inspired you?
Answer: I started drawing at the age of 12. Most drawings were of Mangra, Mashima Hiro, and Oda Eiichiro; just to name a few. And I was inspired by everything around me.
Q: Do you have any other additional talents or interests, in addition to drawing?
A: Yes, I do have other talents and sports that I love, such as Origami drawings and Football.
Q: Have you any of your own original cartoon characters?
A: Yes, I have invented other character drawings but I don’t have a name for them as yet.
Q: What drawings are you working on now?
A: I am presently working on the Mangas and Anime drawings, which I practice on daily.
Q: Are you good in Art in school?
A: Unfortunately, the school that I attend does not have an Art teacher as yet, but is working on it.
Q: What other interests have you got outside of drawing?
A: Well, so far Business Origami (still learning), mastering Video Games and Football.
Q: What is a typical day for you like?
A: My week days begin at school. Thereafter reaching home I then complete all of my homework. After resting, I would go online for a while to find something to draw. However, on weekends I am either practicing football or I am on the phone catching up on stuff.
Q: What is your most prized design and why?
A: My prized design is actually my very ‘first’ drawing, which is kept very close to me. It is my prized design because it reminds me of where I started.
Q: How would you describe your work?
A: My work is slowly getting better each day. I am a work in progress.
Q: Where do you look for creativity?
A: I find creativity and inspiration all around me.
Q: Do you keep a portfolio of your drawings, and which are your favourites?
A: I really don’t have a professional portfolio, but I do keep all of my drawings in a book. I love them all.
Q: How important is originality to you?
A: Actually, originality is very important to me. Also, it’s good to be original because it makes your art drawings different.
Q: Do you think artists are born or created?
A: I truly believe that artists can be born and created.
Q: Which do you feel is more important? Good work with bad attitude, or bad attitude and good work?
A: This is a little tricky, but I do believe that it’s better to have a good attitude with good work. Customers might not like your work because of your bad attitude.
Q: What do people say about your drawings?
A: People love my art drawings, especially the younger kids. They usually trace over my drawings since they love it so much.
Q: Which academic career path do you wish to pursue in life?
A: Business administration is at the top of my list right now.
Q: Who have been your role model or champions in your life?
A: As a young person it’s good to have a role model or a path to follow along. But really, my parents are my real champions in my life, and I love both of them equally. But in the art world I haven’t quite thought about anyone yet, and it doesn’t hurt to have one.
Q: What would you tell young people who are thinking about becoming an artist?
A: I would continue to encourage them by saying ‘Keep it up, good job’. And if you are stuck, never be afraid to ask for help. Always follow your heart and keep your eyes open to various forms of drawings. Most importantly, always do what you love the most.
Q: What do you think are the three components to be a successful artist?
A: Always have fun with it, but don’t allow it to steal time away from your family, friends and school. Finally, learn how to handle negativity and deal with critical people. Until we meet again, fill your life with memories as opposed to regrets. Enjoy life and stay on top of your game.
NB: The columnist welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT THE COLUMNIST: Deidre Marie Bastian is a professionally trained graphic designer/marketing coordinator with qualifications of M.Sc., B.Sc., A.Sc. She has trained at institutions such as: Miami Lakes Technical Centre, Success Training College, College of the Bahamas, Nova South Eastern University, Learning Tree International, Langevine International and Synergy Bahamas