Dready is one of Cayman’s more recognisable artistic characters and he’s now being seen in many media.
But exactly who is he and what does he signify? There seems a whole world beyond the Dreadster himself which is ever-expanding as it adorns more and more walls of Cayman’s art-and-fun loving community.
Weekender chatted with Shane Aquart, the artist behind a style he terms Dready Art, who describes the emergence of “two interestingly different yet very, very similar paths of Dreadyness that sometimes diverge and sometimes come together”.
“I guess, if I have to really think about it, that ‘Dready’ to me represents all at once, the comic West Indian Andy Capp-like character as we’ve come to know him (or her) in my art and the world in which that character might exist.
“Places he might go, things that he might see – like the Dready in VW bus print; the bus is detailed but Dready is still a stick figure – my own signature on the art, Dready and the very style of the art itself,” Shane tells us.
Dready Art, he explains, is bright, warm, simple and whimsical.
“It all sort of evolved because sometimes a piece of art I’m doing requires the Dready character or I’m asked for the character; and sometimes it’s just the style, for which I’ve become known, that a client wants.
“I completed three pieces last week, one was purely Dready, one was mixed and one had no Dready character in it at all but was definitely Dready Art – all asked for by different clients.
Lively up yourself
A really good example of the convergence of it all, says Shane, is what he considers best piece of art from 2012 – the Galloway House.
“It merges everything we’ve mentioned above and you could spot this as a piece of Dready Art from a mile away.”
Other examples of this kind of ‘merged’ work can be found in the piece of Dready Art hanging in the new National Gallery’s permanent collection – Dready has the facing wall of the stairwell all to himself with a rendering of the National Gallery – and the piece Shane worked on during the recent Artisphere weekend at Camana Bay: he worked live in front of Caribbean Canvas Company’s store.
“I’ve done a line of shirts for Hugh Treadwell and Caribbean Canvas Company and so we decided I’d do some art live in front of the shop,” he says.
Can you dig it?
Shane – born in Jamaica – works graphically on computer and drew a red lionfish for Neil DeVere while on-lookers could see the work on two 60 inch screen televisions; the lionfish itself is fairly detailed, but to that detail is added the simplicity of a plain and very strong blue background and the light hearted comedy of a skit involving simpler “Dready” fish in a scene that is typical of Shane’s work.
And If you’ve been watching any cable TV lately you’ll also have noticed that Shane’s been working with Sean Bodden on some purely Dready character-driven TV spots for Car City with Dready as voiced by Michael McLaughlin and Rita Estanovich – these can be found on YouTube by typing in Dready Car City or Dready Suzuki ads.
“These ads really typify the Dready character part of the art that I do; Michael and Rita captured the comedy of it perfectly – the mischievous man-child West Indian male and the stern, independent West Indian woman,” concludes Shane.
“And Seans Bodden’s filming and production is ace, let me tell you, I want to big up that boy in serious ways, he is the don!”.
So don’t be no drag, get the Dready spirit instead. You’ll rock like you never did before.