Her art is colourful and whimsically amusing. Corinthia Bodden Wilson’s paintings also portray a remarkable level of creativity.
Corinthia could be labelled a little eccentric, laughing all the time as she paints; only the kaleidoscope of paintings hanging on her front yard and house walls are an indication of the creative genius within.
At the border of her property, television satellite dishes in varying sizes turn to catch the noonday sun, each boasting a bold, bright and beautiful sunflower. At the base of the satellites, shamrocks and other greenery add a wonderful splash of colour.
There is a myriad of other items in the house that sport Corinthia’s love of colour —a wall painted to look like a window, right down to the bird sitting on the ledge; decorated house pillars; half finished paintings and wall plaques; many other everyday items have been graced by her brushes. Like another famous Caymanian artist who painted her house in everyday objects, Corinthia also believes she must use her God-given talents.
“I knew I always had it in me; God given talents to create something wonderful. I am happily mad and I love my life,” she said,
Corinthia paints on ply board and anything else she can find. Through the help of her son she learned to draw and developed her own style.
“Do you know the artist Luelan Bodden,” she asked. “He is my son. He doesn’t believe his talents come from me; he thinks he was born with it. It was the suffer-ration we endured when they were small. We had to go through the garbage to look for food to eat and clothes to wear. But after searching within ourselves we realised that God gave us the ability to do things and we survived,” she said.
“People love my stuff,” she said, “I want to sell some, but everything I make is my favourite and find it hard to part with it. I love to paint butterflies. If I make a dot I get up three to four times a night just to look at it. The children say I am mad, guess that’s why my signature is ‘Asstist’ instead of artist,” she said, giggling.
“That came about from a confrontation with my boss in trying to excel my artistic talents through art,” she said. But her children encouraged her to use it as the basis of her creation. Now every piece of work carries the trademark.
She not only paints, she writes books, decorates, tiles, builds children’s furniture, works with her grandchildren on television and still finds time for her job at Northward Prison. “I find a stone, it looks like a bird, I take it home and paint it. Anything and everything becomes art once it catches my eye,” she said. “I promote my own work but sometimes I am not recognised. Even if they do see it, they are not consistent in promoting it. Often times it is discouraging,” she said. But that does not get her down and she finds time to work with the girls at the prison, which she said is very rewarding.
Corinthia grew up in Trinidad, arriving in Cayman at age 18. Five years after her husband disappeared, leaving her with five children to raise, survival was her only motive.
“I knew they had to eat so I began to paint and experimented with various things, even opening a preschool and decorating the place with my paintings.”
She said it was her children who taught her how to get a job by telling her how to walk, talk and smile and look the interviewer right in the eye. “They wanted a better life and wanted us to not too dependent on others.”
She loves to laugh and make people happy. It seems at times to others she does not have a care in the world; but it is nothing like that, she has her share of worries but finds laughter to be the best cure.
That laughter she said was the passion for her first book “Smile when you are Hurting”. She is writing the second part of her second book.
Giving God thanks every day for small mercies, Corinthia is now happily married.