Teen’s artwork features at National Gallery

The artwork of Brandon Saunders, an 18-year-old student at St. Ignatius Catholic School, has been added to the permanent collection at the National Gallery of the Cayman Islands.

Mr. Saunders’s digital image “Osiris,” was initially featured in the gallery’s Upon the Seas exhibit last year, and became the breakout piece of that exhibit.

“Osiris,” the name of which was inspired by a childhood video game he played called Dark Souls, features a photographic composite of a woman’s face and a conch shell, on a black background.

He said his inspiration for the work emerged from his love of nature and the island and of the complexity of the human structure, weaving the two together in a piece of art deemed impressive enough to join the gallery’s permanent exhibition.

“Osiris” joins four other new additions to the permanent collection by members of the local Native Sons arts collective – Wray Banker, Al Ebanks, Horacio Esteban and Aston Ebanks.

Mr. Saunders began his budding career in art and graphic design back in Year 9, when he was around 13 years old. His love of technology and graphic design led to him finding a great interest in the Adobe Photoshop software package and all that it had to offer.

He reflected on his short history as an artist, stating that he had actually underperformed in art as a subject when he first began it in Year 8 at school, but through continuous effort and determination, he was able to improve.

Mr. Saunders is perhaps best known locally for his piece titled “Night Watcher,” inspired by the 1982 Ridley Scott film, “Blade Runner.” He and his dad’s love for sci-fi movies prompted him to create the piece of art, which he said was an homage to his father, Chris Saunders, who is the MLA for Bodden Town West.

In 2016, he entered “Night Watcher,” alongside others in his portfolio, in the Adobe 25 Under 25 competition – in which 25 graphic images created by artists under the age of 25 using Adobe Photoshop were chosen as winners. He was placed among the top 25.

“Practice every day, be confident, and don’t give up.” Mr. Saunders advises other young ambitious artists.

“The greatest artist ever alive today probably isn’t known,” he says, reflective of the fact that there are many countries out there that aren’t known in the mainstream art industry. “There are probably a lot of young people in Cayman like me, who are very talented but just haven’t managed to get their name out.”

Mr. Saunders says he may pursue an art and design career after school and that he has been making connections with others in the industry through the competitions he has entered over time.

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