Sunday, 22 February 2009 05:30
By D Francis
"Watercolour... that's my forte.
It illustrates style and impression.
My subjects are not necessarily true to life, but you can readily identify the subjects.
They are energetic, with lots of movement, heightened expression and Caribbean colors."
Artist Edison Liburd, who spoke with Caribarena under a willow tree in the cool breeze at Jolly Harbour, recalled how he started in the art world.
"From a child, I always loved painting and drawing. Whenever I was quiet in the house, my parents knew I was painting," he said.
"My father was the one who actually gave me my first real start. He asked me to do an illustration of a netball TV commercial.
"I chose my own colours and layout, but he managed me along the way in terms of getting the piece camera-ready. From there, I did a couple more for him, and went on to high school – Antigua Grammar - where I also did an illustration for a tea party. Both pieces were very well received."
Liburd credits his then Peace Corp art teacher at Grammar School, Dianne Ellis, who inspired and encouraged him to do more.
After he left secondary school, he lived abroad, and got his first
exposure to college art at Atlantic Union College. In New York, he did some continuing education courses which opened many doors and gained him many clients.
After he wrapped up his studies and worked in the US for a while, Liburd returned to Antigua and started doing hand-painted T-shirts on the beach at Jolly Beach.
"That was one of the highpoints of my life," he said. "I touched a vast amount of people painting T-shirts. People from Greece, the US, Switzerland, the UK... from all over, they appreciated my work."
He's also illustrated a book of poetry called Reflections of an Inner Soul, a children's book entitled Balloons, and The Message, a black Christian publication.
Commercials, billboards and other printed material have also displayed Liburd's artistic skills.
Presently, Liburd said, his main focus is selling inspirational art. "I have now adopted a philosophy to use art as a means of giving people hope and a reason to live," he said. "When people look at my work, I want people to come away with a positive and fulfilled
feeling, and that's why I use lots of colours and freedom in the line of application of every painting." He said it's all about lots of fabric, colours and movement.
In terms of his passion or preference, Liburd said, "I like capturing the gestures and moods of people.
I also like nature. In a lot of my work, you'll see very defined gestures."
Pointing to one of his paintings, he explained, "Like this lady, she shows confidence, purpose... she is telling us that she loves life.
She is telling you that the sky is the limit, and she has the freedom to do what she wants." The piece tells the world that "regardless of whatever you do, whatever you encounter, you should always find a purpose to go on."
His clients are of mixed background, and range from commercial clients to art collectors and those drawn by the simple beauty of the work.
"I want to be able to do this for much more than just money," Liburd said. "I want to share my art with the world in many ways.
I want people to come sit down with me and I share and train them about certain techniques and so on. I want to use art as a therapeutic outlet for people, that's where I want to go."
He encourage those starting out in the field not to give up, because "there is a world out there waiting to see what you have to bring to the art world in your own unique way."