Artist’s Name: Josh Burley
Name of Brand: Bayne
Artist’s Age: 24
Artform: Illustration and Portrait Art
Why do you do what you do? When did you realize a passion for what you do?
I create to centre myself. My brain often feels like a chaotic mess, racing back and forth, anxiously thinking about things that have happened or things that haven’t and drawing is the only thing I’ve found that really grounds me. My mind slows down and I’m existing entirely in the now. I feel most alive when I’m creating.
From the moment I could hold a pencil in my hand I think everyone around me knew the love I had for art. I drew all the time. I was probably even sketching in the womb. All my school notebooks were always 40% notes and 60% drawings
What is your educational background?
I spent my high school years bleeding maroon and gold at Wolmer’s Boys’ School and now finishing up my Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering at UTech. Apart from art classes at Wolmer’s, everything I know I taught myself through Youtube and art books.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced while trying to pursue your passion?
My biggest obstacles would have to be self-doubt and imposter syndrome. There have been a lot of times where I missed out on certain opportunities or hindered my growth as an artist because I wasn’t confident in my skills. Feeling like I didn’t have a voice or that I wasn’t really saying anything in my art made me question even calling myself an artist. It’s something that I still battle with from time to time but the irresistible urge to create always keeps me going.
Have you encountered people who have been skeptical about your dreams?
Yeah, I definitely have. But I know myself better than anyone and despite any anxieties or doubts I might feel while on this journey, I know that this is the only path that feels completely right for me. Also, I’m pretty stubborn so once I knew this was what I wanted, that was it.
How did you initially react to those people and how do you act towards them now?
A lot of the skepticism faded once I started growing as an artist and more people started to take notice of my work. I’m not a household name just yet, but the path is there and I’ve learnt to just focus on nurturing my craft and letting the art speak for itself.
How do you work? What is the method to your ‘madness’ and how do you filter your creativity?
I find inspiration from literally everything – movies, anime, games, other artists from social media, random thoughts that pop into my head. I can look at every piece I’ve done and tell you how that idea formed or what I was picturing in my head when I saw the reference. I go through bouts of art block like every other artist but I try to just ride it out and allow the creativity to flow through me when it’s ready. My mind just absorbs things from everything I experience and I’m just compelled to create whatever it spits out.
What role do you believe “the artist” has in society? / How do you feel your artform has the power to benefit society?
I like to think that artists or creatives in general are dreamers. We experience the world in a heightened state through the things we see, hear, or feel. I think our job is to share that with others in whatever form we can. To use our art as a means to connect with people and show them a different perspective of the world we live in. To uplift and show them a world in colour when it feels like it’s only getting darker.
Out of all your work, which piece resonates the most with you?
The piece that resonates the most with me has to be a redraw I did of my first ever digital portrait. I did it only a year after the original and I was blown away by how much I improved in such a short amount of time. It was at a time where I felt stagnant creatively and that my skills weren’t developing as fast as I wanted them to, so it was a good reminder of all the progress I had made in the past year.
Where do you see yourself going?
I would love to become a big name in illustration, having my art featured in magazine editorials, on the covers of albums, billboards or promotional [content] for movies, tv shows, etc. I see myself creating art for people who look like me; encouraging diversity and inclusiveness. I want to create or be a part of an art community dedicated to really encouraging creativity amongst the youth and help showcase that a career in art is just as feasible as any other profession; especially in Jamaica.
By what terms do you measure success or perfection? When do you feel like you can say that your work is finished and ready to be experienced by others?
I think all artists are perfectionists in their own way, so I try my best not to focus on it while I’m creating.(Spoiler Alert: it doesn’t always work) I kind of view my art as a reflection of myself and I’m by no means perfect, therefore my art shouldn’t be. Aiming for close enough reminds me that I still have room left to grow and develop; not only as an artist but as a person and that excites me.
I consider a piece finished or successful when I look at it and feel like I effectively conveyed the initial vibe I was going for. Sometimes even while I’m working on a piece, I step back and get excited of what it will look like when I’m done and that’s when I know I’m onto something great.
“I think our (artists’) job is to share that with others in whatever form we can. To use our art as a means to connect with people and show them a different perspective of the world we live in. To uplift and show them a world in colour when it feels like it’s only getting darker.”
~ Josh “Bayne” Burley