Artists behind the art work

There are lots of creative people in Cayman as was proved at the recent Ogier Art Awards when more than 70 artists showcased their talents at the exhibition and competition, organised by the National Gallery and Ogier 

New and established artists were asked to submit any 2-D or 3-D pieces of art in any medium, providing they were original works completed in the past two years. The three winners 

were, Hannah Cook who won first prize for her huge and detailed canvas of a rooster, second prize to John Bird, for his wooden carving of Stingrays  

and the prize for best emerging talent went to 19-year old Breanne Carle, for her multi-medium peacock.  

The Observer on Sunday got together with the three winners to find out more about the artists and their winning works. 

 

Hannah Cook 

Q. How did you choose the subject  

matter of your winning artwork?  

A. I happened to be going through a Cayman rooster phase is my work. I have always loved the plumage of the bird and the way it carries itself, from its proud domineering stance with chest out, to its comical meandering panic stricken get away run! These birds are everywhere in Cayman and are part of Cayman’s National heritage. My great grand-father collected rooster art and so I grew up surrounded by exquisite old cockerel painting heirlooms. As a child I would find myself analysing the feather detail and colours. I paint my roosters oversized to magnify this, common, understated bird’s regal presence and draw the viewer into the abundance of colour in its feathers, so it was a natural choice.  

 

Q. What aspects of Cayman life or  

landscape have inspired or influenced  

your work? 

A. Cayman is a great place to have a studio and paint, the more relaxed lifestyle allows me visual clarity inspiring the creative process to blossom. I need peace, light, space and good classical music to fall into the zone of painting and I find this in Cayman. The sea provides the vast space and peace that I see every day, the sunlit days make everything look happy, full of colour and alive while the robust, tropical foliage is an endless source of inspiration from colour to form and pattern. I am a fine artist and enjoy attention to detail so find myself zooming in on shape and pattern and creating enlarged paintings of a subjects that I hope carries the viewer along the same path. Whether it be the vein system of a branch of leaves, a partly-shaded, coconut cluster or a shoal of swimming fish. 

 

Q. What is the medium used and why? 

A. The rooster was painted with golden acrylics on canvas. Golden paints are my brand choice as their pigments are second to none in every way. I have been painting with the medium acrylics since I was 13 so there was no second thought on the medium to capture the essence of the rooster.  

 

Q. Is this the usual medium you work in? 

A. I am essentially a decorative painter and conceptual artist based in Grand Cayman for the last 12 years. So my mediums are broad depending on my commissions. My faux work consists of glazes, gilding, to all types of plaster and other faux products on the market to produce the desired finish for a client. I also work with glass, vitreous glass, ceramic tile and mirror to create my mosaic pieces and I also design in wood to produce custom designed mirrors and custom interior pieces. Next year I hope to add metal work and ceramics to my repertoire of evolving mediums! So there is no ‘usual medium’ that I work with. I love materials and tools! I get excited in DIY stores. If you asked me to make a 10 foot sculpture of a palm tree I would come up with the most interesting method of creating it then make it happen.  

 

Q. Has Cayman a good support network  

as far as artists are concerned? 

A. I think Cayman is great at pushing the arts and providing a good support network. There is always the chance for an artist to get involved in local shows. I am a bit out of the main stream here in Cayman as I have spent most my time working in private residence or commercial properties and navigated my own path. This is the first competition I have entered here in Cayman. I have been involved with the Prospect Theatre on two productions and was really impressed by the standard and audience participation. I am a huge fan of children being able to express themselves within the arts from running around moving with silk scarves to performing in plays.  

 

Q. What artists or art movements  

either past or present do you find  

interesting or inspiring? 

A. I am inspired all the time by people. I have so many artist’s I admire for different qualities. 

From a decorative painter point of view I am in awe of the beautiful trompe l’oeil fresco ceilings and walls of the Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo eras. They are breath-taking not only to view but the fact that resources were limited and hand made and that perspective was a new concept but mastered effortlessly. The old Dutch master still life painter, Vermeer for his use of light, Leonardo Da Vinci for his amazing mind and brilliance on life, art, inventions and thinking. The impressionist movement group of artists that I could write an essay on and so many more.  

 

 

John Bird 

Q. How did you choose the subject  

matter of your winning artwork?  

A. I wanted to carve something relevant to the Cayman Islands and stingrays scream Cayman. 

 

Q. What aspects of Cayman life or  

landscape have inspired or influenced  

your work? 

A. Having done some diving as well as being to Stingray City many times, you tend to see a lot of these fish out and about. I love the way the stingrays glide through the water so effortlessly as well as being quite tame. This has definitely helped to get a good understanding of what they look like, their proportions, and how they feel. 

 

Q. What is the medium used and why? 

A. To be honest, its what I had in the shop at the time. Mahogany is easy to carve and stains well, so that made for the more intricate carvings, and the maple is a good colour match for sand (not so good for carving). 

 

Q. What artists or art movements  

either past or present do you find  

interesting or inspiring?  

A. Growing up on the west coast of Canada we have a very strong first nations art culture. The carvings that are produced are absolutely phenomenal. When I was a kid my father was into carving masks and totem pools and he managed to be quite good at it. My parents also have a very large native art collection that includes a great many carvings. So, I would have to say that this type of art I find very inspiring. 

 

Breanne Carle 

Q. How did you choose the subject  

matter of your winning artwork? 

A. I chose the subject matter of multi-media because I love to use a variety of materials in my artwork to make it not only original but more than just a work of art. In my winning piece, Island Creature, I used feathers simply because peacocks have feathers and I wanted to make it appear realistic. I also used beads in the peacocks, mainly to help emphasize them and draw your eye into the piece. The piece is mainly comprised of acrylic paint and ink markers.  

 

Q. Is this the usual medium  

that you work in? 

A. Yes, I am always working with this kind of medium but I never limit myself on what materials I use in my work. 

 

Q. What aspects of Cayman life  

or landscape have inspired or  

influenced your work? 

A. The most inspirational part of Cayman for me is my fellow artists. Meeting new artists, seeing their work, and finding out what inspires them. After a trip to Pure Art or Kennedy Gallery I get a rush of ideas. I am inspired by the artists of Cayman and the world to create unimaginable artwork.  

 

Q. Has Cayman a good support network  

as far as artists are concerned? 

A. Yes! I truly believe so. Cayman is small but we definitely support our local artists. For example participating in this competition has allowed me to meet new artists and become more established in Cayman’s Art community.  

 

Q. What artists or art movements  

either past or present do you find  

interesting or inspiring?
A. Avril Ward and Maureen Lazarus are two artists in Cayman that truly inspire me. I love their work, its unique and always evolving. One day I hope that my work can inspire an emerging artist the way these ladies have inspired me.  

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