Hampton Art Lovers Opens New Exhibition for African American Art in Miami

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Committed to celebrating and promoting diverse cultural roots through the arts and culture activities, and by promoting African American and Caribbean artistic talent, Hampton Art Lovers (HAL) once again will open another exhibition September 27, 2019, at the Historic Ward Rooming House (249 Northwest 9th Street Miami, FL, 33136). “Awakening” is the solo exhibition of works by Jamaican artist Basil Barrington Watson,¬†features sculptures and sketches by him. The Southeast Overtown Park West Community Redevelopment CRA (SEOPW) is the sponsor for the show. The gallery hours are daily 11am-6pm, Wednesday through Saturday. Private showings can be made by here.

We caught up with artist Basil Barrington Watson to find out what inspires him on his artistic journey.

What’s integral to the work of an artist?

Artists create from different places within, but for me, it is my sense of observation. My curiosity and fascination with the world around me, especially people, drives me to look and eventually see more and understand more. For me, it is definitely my sense of observation. 

What role does the artist have in society?

Different societies may ascribe different roles to the artist as well as artists may ascribe different roles to themselves. Art touches every aspect of our lives, is so wide and open, leaving room for all find room to contribute. 

On the whole, the artist’s role in society is bringing the simple and ordinary to the fore and highlighting it all as extraordinary, stimulating the mind to see and understand the world a little deeper. 

What themes do you pursue?

My themes revolve around people as expressed through the human figure. I tend to be inspired by and gravitate towards the light, positive energy, and a sense efficaciousness. As an earthling, I gravitate towards themes that express a universality and timelessness to our existence, a commonality that brings us together and a language that we all can understand.

What is your daily art-making routine?

There is a certain amount of routine, but also each day can be so different. I like to start with creative energies and move to more manual labor as the day progresses and ending on a more contemplative note. 

I use live models as much as possible, allowing them to bring their energy and language to me, remaining receptive to what they have to offer. 

I draw, the starting point, exploring the possibilities, and then, once I find something that I think has potential, I progress to sculpture. It is finally delivered in pain, the pain of manual labor, and then enjoyed in the light and energy it gives me to start all over again the next day. 

What is your biggest motivator as an artist?

The biggest motivation is the connection with other people that art gives me, whether it’s the subject or the audience. I find that art opens every door. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

  1. Focus on the BIG picture. In life and in art. 
  2. Stay true to my vision and leave the critics as well as the admirers behind. 

My most significant influence is my father Barrington Watson who as an artist, has influenced me stylistically, as well as what it means to be an artist. On a global level as a sculptor, I would say Auguste Rodin. 

What images or things keep you company in the space where you work?

In my studio, the sight of my own work constantly stimulates and challenges me to push the boundaries.

Which current art world trends are you following?

I have not been one to follow trends, or maybe it is that I choose a trend and stick with it. There was a time when representational figurative art or sculpture was not trendy, but it was what I loved and decided to stick with, now I see a resurgence of the realistic representation of the figure, maybe I am helping to set world trends ūüôā

For more information about Basil Watson click here. The Exhibition will run from September 27th through November 16th, 2019.

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