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Interview With Jamaican Artist, Bernard Stanley Hoyes 
By Xavier Murphy 

Monday, September 24, 2007 

Copyright© 2000-2007

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This month we interview Jamaican Artist, Bernard Stanley Hoyes. He started his professional career at the early age of nine in Kingston. He moved to the US at age fifteen where he continued his art education. His work has been featured in many exhibits and magazines over the world. Some call him the “spiritual color master” for the mixture of color and religion that is evident in his work.
Q: Do you remember when you realized that you wanted to be an artist? How did you become aware of your ambition?
I won an all island art competition while at holy family elementary school.

Q: Are you are self-taught artist or do you have formal changes?
I was a self taught artist until i was exposed to formal education. But i remain my best teacher since then.

Q: If someone has the gift of art, should they go to art school and why? Do you provide formal training for new artists at your Studio?
Yes, if only to learn what you are up against in terms of history and your contemporaries. No, I am still seeking and learning as an artist myself.

Q: What was your first painting? Do you still have this painting?
I don’t recollect, but my first successful composition was of a mother and child against a street scene. This painting has since been lost.
Q: How do you define art? In what ways do you feel the Internet will affect today’s or future Art?
Art is defined by the attention on give to the creative stimuli using a selected medium with the intentions of mastering its nuances.

Q: Can you name some of the awards and recognitions you have gotten for your work?
My awards and recognitions have been numerous, the ones i really want have eluded me so far. Please see my resume on my website.

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Q: Has the recognition and awards had an effect on your career and your art?
For the moment of the celebration. Rewards has more effects however. Rewards keeps an artist bills paid and his attention to his craft focused.

Q: What is your favorite medium and how does it influence your creativity?
I love oils and the print medium. I become more serious about my compositions and work production.

Q: Are there any historical or contemporary artists that you admire their work?
I admire the masters. The painters including the abstract expressionists of the mid twentieth century. My contemporaries that share the same enthusiasm for dedication to a medium.

Q: Some of your paintings seem to have a religious theme. What is the inspiration behind your painting? Where do you find the inspiration for your work?
Yes, there is the presence of religion. But its the spiritual commonality of humanity that drives the body of my work. The initial inspiration came from my search for a theme that unify all the debates on differences. I sought to take my work to another level other than socio-political commentary that was prevalent in art during the eighties and nineties.

Q: Which of your paintings has given you the most gratification of your career? Which is your favorite piece and why?
All of my painting have been gratifying in their completion. Its the unfinished ones that haunt me. I am still working at a career and right now gratification comes from pieces that have lasting impact. My rendition of Marcus Garvey , she found wings in rags, from the rag series, and dancing for the lord, from the revival series. These are truly inspired works that i was in touch with on a spiritual and creative level. They have a deep story on their own that will be legendary one day.

Q: When you drive around the towns that cater to tourists you see the same type of painting everywhere. For many travelers to Jamaica this is viewed as Jamaican art. Do you think this characterization is good and as an artist do you cringe at the lack of originality?
We all aspire to be creative and we follow success. There must be something successful about these type of paintings either thru recognition,reward, or excitation. All of this adds up to a kind of characterization that speak truthfully to the travelers and they support it. In their support they give sanctions to its success. Being a product of Jamaica, it is Jamaican art. Now, is it the best of Jamaican art? Only the individual artist and the dedication to craft as well as the survival and rise of that artist will endeavor to be deemed a master. To get to that point support is key. So, if you want a certain type or certain look to how Jamaican is characterized, find the artists that satisfy that criteria and give them support. They are all there in aspiration.

Q: Do you have any upcoming shows?
I have a show to be opened in October. Its a three person exhibition with two of my contemporaries, Gene Pearson and Adrian Wong Shue. Both dedicated artist from Jamaica.

Q: Any advice to upcoming artist?
Work to your creative strengths and do a lot of work.

Q: Any final words for the visitors at
Support art now to keep it alive. Go to Kingston and see the cultural centers.

You can see more of Bernard Stanley Hoyes paintings and exhibit dates at his website:

Hoyes' career has been built on his own drive to record his memories of home. The majority of his subject matter draws on childhood memories of revival and spiritual ceremonies.

"You can't have a good understanding of where to go if you don't know where you're coming from," he told SunDay.

"With these images," he explained, gesturing to his well-known revivalist scenes of head-wrapped women praying and dancing, "...there's a universal sense of what's taking place, and it becomes about the ceremony, and the colour. Many people from all walks of life can relate to the imagery. They understand the gathering aspect, the celebrating aspect."

At home to visit family for a few days before departing for a June show in Los Angeles, Hoyes gave SunDay an interview about the remarkable journey his art has taken him on - from his beginnings in downtown Kingston to becoming a master painter and printmaker.


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