Hurricane stirs inspiration for local artist

Hurricane Ivan brought untold change to the island including the way artist Prince Boyd views his work.

The long-time landscape painter said the storm not only inspired his latest series but stirred a deeper passion to reach a broader audience.

‘It’s really changed my style,’ said the Jamaican-born artist who has lived in Cayman four years. ‘I used to take painting casually but I find now this is a medium that I can really send a message not only to Cayman but all over the world.’

The hurricane is the focus of Boyd’s current series of semi-abstract paintings, many of which will be on display at the annual [email protected]’s exhibition on Saturday.

His colourful, textured works depict hope and strength in the midst of destruction and despair.

‘The vibrant colours that I use relate to the spirit of the people, the coming together,’ he said.

Lighthouses figure prominently in several pieces as a symbol of hope and several paintings fuse various districts of Cayman in one scene.

‘If you look at one piece you’ll see a few different parts of the island combined together.’

Like many others, the hurricane had a great impact on Boyd both personally and professionally.

‘I was really traumatized and in denial for awhile . . . it was not my first hurricane but this one really got to me. I’d been through Gilbert in Jamaica but that was a baby compared to Ivan. Just the sound of it alone, the whooing, really shook me.’

Venturing out the first day after the storm to survey the damage, Boyd was shocked – and thankful – that everyone he knew was OK.

‘I was amazed that my friends, the folks that I knew, my family members were still alive because when I looked at their homes it was devastation. That’s when I really started to paint.’

He’s done around 25 pieces so far, and plans to begin marketing his work more aggressively on island and via a web site.

Along with inspiration, Boyd says the storm brought the art community closer. ‘It really made a tighter bond between us.’

Interested in art since high school, Boyd pursued his passion at the encouragement of his mother, honing his talents at the Edna Manley School for the Visual Arts in Jamaica. A graphic designer as well, he turned to art full-time when moved to Cayman.

He’s exhibited regularly at the National Gallery, including the current group exhibit Emergence that features works made from debris found after the hurricane.

Although Boyd works in a variety of styles and mediums including sculpture, he finds his greatest expression in semi-abstract.

‘I’m able to create depth. It’s not just colours, shapes and forms. There’s a message inside the piece.’

[email protected]’s runs from 1pm to 4pm Saturday on the lawn at the Governor’s house.

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