By Lakhram Bhagirat
“My painting style is surrealism so what I try to do is to depict real life experiences in my work. When you see a piece from me, you get the chance to live a little of my life and we are all human beings and we all have experiences to share. That is how I share mine,” John Nash told me.
We were standing in the middle of an exhibition held by the final year students of the ER Burrowes School of Art and John was relating his journey from Annai in the Rupununi to Georgetown, to me.
The 21-year-old never contemplated an artistic path rather he has always tried to steer clear from that. While growing up in Annai, he was encouraged to do other things and spent most of his childhood doing exactly that.
He never paid attention to learning much about art and would spend his days roaming the village with his friends and engaging in all sorts of boyhood games. They farmed, fished and swam for most of it. However, as John was getting older and in secondary school, he realised that art came to him and it was something very hard to shake off.
In addition to being a natural talent, he saw many of his friends engaging the arts as part of their lives and that encouraged him to delve deeper.
“I was always really influenced by the young children around me and they made me want to pick up art as a career. As I got older, I started to do more drawings and started to build myself. I was never exposed to the various techniques in art so for me it was just colour pencils and pens that really got me started doing art. I would do drawings in my spare time and so to make myself get better,” he remembered.
As he was nearing the end of his secondary school life, John was contemplating the next direction he wanted to take in his life so he decided to follow the art. He had very little knowledge of the world beyond the Rupununi but wanted to go on an exploration.
“Growing up in the interior is different from here in Georgetown. It is more open space and most artists that come from Region Nine or the Rupununi, they are exposed to naturistic views and you find more of that in their paintings and when they come here they find different art styles and they are opened up to expressing themselves differently.”
“Out in the interior you don’t have good internet and things to expose you to the outer world so you are locked in that area and when you come in town here it is a different thing. You learn more about the internet and what you can do and what influences your style and so on,” he explained.
John heard of Burrowes School of Art and decided to apply. He officially joined there in September 2017 and began his journey of fine tuning his talent. Coming from being mostly self-taught, John was overwhelmed, at first, by the sheer amount of information that was being thrown at him. He was exposed to the various facets of art and techniques in accomplishing what he had in his mind.
“I was never exposed to painting and so when I first started out. When I got accepted into Burrowes School of Art, I was exposed to other forms of art and jewellery. So I decided to major in painting and chose jewellery as my minor. Here I was exposed to the different forms of art and was able to find my style of painting which is surrealism,” John said.
Explaining his art style in more detail, John said, “Surrealism for me is all about self-expression. It’s from an experience you gain and it is different from most people. It is more about inner self experience and my experience is unique. So that helps me to tell what I have experienced and what I have been through. Also, it is not just about me but I can use my paintings to express what others may be feeling too because at the end of the day we are all human beings and we all go through bad times. So that is the way I express myself so when people see my painting, I expect them to walk off with a peace of mind and the belief that there is a reason to be alive.”
While painting remains the dearest to his heart, John is now contemplating a career in the world of jewellery since he believes he has a more unique advantage.
“I can make my own designs and come up with my own ideas which is something that is needed on the jewellery market. That doesn’t mean that I have to give up painting because painting takes time and I paint when I am [in] different moods so I will still do that.”
He believes that art is everything and it is everywhere and urged everyone to push their boundaries and live.
If you want to get into contact with John to purchase his artwork, you can contact him on 622-9817.