Back in March a young Grenadian artist, by the name of Horace George, was proposed as a contender for this year’s 40 under 40 list. I was, initially, a little sceptical. Apart from a brief Facebook post announcing that his design had been selected as the official 40th independence logo, there was no mention of Horace George or his work anywhere online. It wasn’t immediately clear that he fitted any of the criteria for the list.
But when I saw Horace’s work it spoke for itself.The photographs below really don’t do his talents justice; his work would be best viewed in a gallery not on a digital screen. The extent of this 30-year-old’s talent is hard to question and he adds much to this 40 under 40 list as his experience is reflective of the thousands of gifted young people in Grenada who don’t have the luxury of finances or family connections to propel them forward.
It’s tempting to describe Clozier, Horace’s home town, as the middle of nowhere but it’s actually only three miles from Gouyave (it’s just that you have to travel in an upwards direction to get there). When you arrive, the view is spectacular. It’s Grenada at its most beautiful; there’s a real paradise to be found in these abundant green mountain peaks. As we talk, I begin to see how growing up in such a dramatic could inspire the desire to communicate through the visual arts.
What is it that inspires you to draw?
That’s hard to describe. Art is just a part of me. It’s probably also a family thing too. My brother designs signs, banners and number plates. I guess it was built into me from the womb. It’s just part of who I am and I love it. Ever since I knew myself, since I’ve been conscious of me I’ve been into art, even if it was just drawing a little stickman. My drawing developed over the years, but I never developed it academically until college.
[tw-column width=”one-half”]Why did you wait until then?
Honestly, it was just to make up numbers in college. I wouldn’t have attempted it had I had other options.
So is art something you just do on the side rather than as a full-time thing?
I know that there’s the potential for a career in art but for now it’s part-time because it’s not as sustainable as I would like it to be.
If money were not an issue, would you choose to do practice as an artist or are there other career paths you’d prefer to follow?
There are other paths which I could take, but I’m sure that, if I could see a sustainable living coming from art, I would definitely give it a shot.
Is that quite a common challenge for artists in Grenada?
I can’t speak for the other artists who I haven’t had the opportunity to meet, but those who I do know share the same sentiments, that it’s not a sustainable career path.
What does it need to change? More support from the government?
I think a more viable market is the main issue. I don’t think capital resources are the biggest challenges, we need a viable market where we can get our work sold.
Who buys your work at the moment?
The few piece I have sold were bought by Grenadians, but they have tended to be those who’ve spent a while outside of Grenada. The locals don’t normally by.
Are local people aware of your work?
Yes, some of them are but price is a factor as people don’t want to pay the price that the artist may call for.
So if I were to ask someone here about you would they say ‘Horace the artist’?
Yeah, everyone here knows me along those lines.
But how many of them might own some of your work?[/tw-column]
[tw-column width=”one-half” position=”last”]None of them. Nobody in Clozier owns my art. [He laughs]. That’s the issue – selling!
If you had the opportunity to move abroad would you take it?
Where would you like to be based?
In the UK.
No, why? It’s so cold?
My grandmother and sister live there so I visit so often.
And what, if you moved there, would you miss about your community?
The love. When I was up in the UK, because all I’d ever known in my life was this, it was strange how everybody in the street was just passing each other. That doesn’t happen here.
What would you say to other young people who are passionate about art who are in a similar situation to you?
I would say don’t hinder yourself in any way. Go forth and grab life, make the best of it. If art is what you like then give it your best shot. Despite all the hindrances and factors that are around holding us back you should go for it!
Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you’d like to mention?
I just appreciate the fact that Miss Cleo is here helping me and others like me. I don’t know if I could put words together to thank her for what she’s doing for us, for this opportunity to be interviewed. It means a lot to me. I see all these opportunities as a means of advertising and I appreciate all the help she can give through you and others who believe in my work.