Get To Know [Ep.2]: Abii Paris

Greetings, nice and decent people. I hope your spirit is at peace today. Thanks for all the support and feedback on the first post. If this is your first time here, blessings to you as well. As the title states, this is Episode 2. This is a mini-series (6 episodes) dedicated to highlighting the work of some really talented Jamaican painters and(or) illustrators while getting to know them a little better. This week, we have Abii Paris. Enjoy!

I’m slightly obsessed with music. So let’s start there. Put your playlist on shuffle and give me the first five selections. [Yes, this is now a #fortheculture876 staple]

Abii:

  1. Gingerbread Boy – Miles Davis
  2. Dolores – Miles Davis
  3. Footprints – Miles Davis
  4. Feel – Post Malone ft. Kehlani
  5. Feeling Good – Nina Simone

Oooooooo nice nice. Everything here is fire. Especially Kehlani and Nina Simone. You paint to Jazz often?

Yeeeeeeess lol. I do love painting while listening to jazz. Listening to it beforehand always tend to get my creative juices flowing and that’s when the real magic happens.

Someone got inspiration for the name of their child from one of your pieces (Niayema). Tell us a little more about that.

Yes, one of my ‘parry’ (friend) from high school had messaged me to let me know that he’ll be naming his daughter after that painting. Niayema is a commissioned piece I did to embody the essence of a black woman. The name was inspired by Niyama, which is a Sanskrit word, meaning observance. It’s a yoga practice. The name Niayema is a ‘spin-off’ of Niyama and funny enough, whenever I look at the painting it does exude all that the practice is about.

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Art by: Abii Paris (Niayema)

You practice yoga?

No lol. I have tried many times but I lack the dedication needed to continue.

Tell me about something or a situation that annoyed you recently.

I walked to the supermarket yesterday and it was very annoying that I couldn’t walk in peace without men saying dirty things to me. Compliments would have been fine but saying something like, “come drop one a yuh titty dem inna mi mouth” is not cool. I feel like they are fueled by each other because once one does it then it’s like a competition and they walk you down and they are not quiet when they do so. They made me feel like I was walking down the street naked but I was clothed. It’s very annoying!

I feel you. That is one of the unfortunate realities of Jamaican society and to imagine that these same men have a mother or even worse…. a daughter or daughters. Crazy.

Yes, it’s just the sad reality.

IMG_20180113_153647Art by: Abii Paris

Alright, back to the art. I see that your website is under construction. Any update on that?

I am currently working on a few pieces to relaunch my website. So it will be under construction for a little while.

Oh ok. I know you do paintings, make jewelry and custom designed clothes. Am I missing out anything?

Yes, that pretty much sums it up.

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Art by: Abii Paris

Chippie’s over every other snack riiiiiight?

Yes! Lol although I must unashamedly admit that St. Mary’s Extra Crunchy has my heart currently.

Ahh you’re still a good person lol. In closing, is there any message you would like to leave with the people?

I’ll close with a quote from Denzel Washington.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished. It’s about what you’ve done with those accomplishments. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”

That’s where we end our little chat with Abii. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with Abii Paris online and check out more of her amazing artwork:

Instagram: @foreverabiiparis

Twitter: @48ii_P4ris   

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Get To Know [Ep.1]: Summer Clarke

Before I get to the culture, I just want to say…..Thanks for being here! I appreciate it a lot. I have had the idea of starting a blog bouncing around in my head for a while now but I was not too sure about the content I wanted to write about. After gaining some level of self confidence and self identity and a few words of encouragement from some friends(BIG UP UNNUSELF!!!) I just decided to do it #fortheculture. So, this blog is basically dedicated to the culture. Jamaican culture. Now to the meat of the matter.

I have always been a fan of visual art. Whether it be a painting, drawing or sculpture, I love it all. I look at some pieces and just observe in total astonishment. One word always pops up in my head and that is, HOW??? How did you create this, you amazing person??? If you want answers, what do you do? Ask questions. So, I had a little chat with Summer to find out more about the person behind the art.

The name “Summer” is actually brilliant. Give me some insight into the origin of the name and your feelings towards the name.

Summer: Well, you can thank my father, it was all his idea. He wanted his children to have very different/special names. Hence, my sister and I have the seasonal names we do. (Her sister’s name is Autumne) Funny enough, when I was a little kid, I didn’t like my name. I was teased about it a lot. As I got older, I started to realize that people aren’t a defining factor in my identity. The word ‘summer’ stems from the French “ete” which comes from the Latin “aestas” and Greek “aithein” which means to burn, to shine or to be hot. After I found that out I realised my name helped to define my purpose in life and I’ve been on that mission ever since.

IMG_20180110_163128Art by: Summer Clarke

When did you come to the realization that you are a talented artist?

Well, I always felt that way when I was a kid because I was always a top art student and people were always so astonished by my works and my family adores my creative energies. Then, I went to art school in America and realised, “wow I just might be living in a cardboard box for the rest of my days” and I stopped doing art for a long time. But then I got realigned with myself and I’m back to thinking I’m pretty great.

I’m glad you got back on the art train and you’re also willing to share your work with others because your work is amazing.

Thank you. I’m glad people are enjoying it as much as I enjoy making them.

IMG_20180110_153758Art by: Summer Clarke

Do you sell any of your pieces or is it just a hobby for you?

Well it of course started as a hobby. I always excelled at it in school and decided to just continue doing it regardless of profit or monetary value. Although, every now and again I do a few commissions. However, this year I’m hoping to organize some sort of exhibition/auction.

After viewing a couple of your pieces, it is evident that you have some kind of interest in Japanese culture. To what extent are you invested in Japanese culture?

Well like most people my age I grew up watching a lot of anime on TV and later on binge-watching several online and tons of old samurai movies from the 1950’s & 60’s. I’ve always been in love with the scenery of Japan. I also have a great love of ukiyo-e art which is an ancient form of Japanese wood-block printing. So this of course heavily influenced my pieces and why I’m always drawing Geishas every chance I get.

IMG_20180105_163042Art by: Summer Clarke

Now to a little fun lol. Put your playlist on shuffle and give me the first 5 selections. Let’s see what you got.

  1. The Girl from Ipanema – Frank Sinatra
  2. We and Dem – Bob Marley
  3. The Very Thought of You – Nat King Cole
  4. Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana – Pietro Mascagni
  5. Kamiya Dojo – Noriyuki Asakuri

In closing, is there any message you would like to leave with the people? 

Remember to breathe.

That’s where we end our chat with Summer. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with Summer online and check out more of her work:

Instagram: @summerclarke95

Twitter: @SummerdiBummer