Four artists, four styles on show at Masterworks
At Masterworks until Tuesday is 441: Four Artists, Four Styles, One Show. It’s a recurring exhibit featuring emerging creatives. This time around it’s Nathaniel Binega-Northcott, Nikkie Richardson, Yassine Chentouf and Dion Easton. Follow them on Instagram: @hooddvogue; @nu.cents; @yassine_the.artist; @dionthecreative.
Q: How did you get into art?
NBN: I believe I was born an artist and it is what I am meant to do in this life. My father, Jonathan Northcott, is an artist and I would say he is one of my biggest motivations. I started embracing it as my career and life path around 16.
DE: It was something I discovered much later in life. I always thought I was going to be an athlete or work in business. Never in my wildest dreams growing up did I see a creative profession in my future, and now I can't imagine doing anything else.
YC: I've been creative throughout my life, always having one foot in the arts whether it was violin, piano, steel pan, theatre, drawing/painting, whatever. My time doing IB visual art in high school definitely catalysed my visual practice, but as a child and to this day I am quite a multidisciplinary artist.
Q: Full-time or part-time?
NBN: I would say I am a full-time artist and I treat it as so.
DE: I am a full-time filmmaker and photographer now. The decision basically made itself for me. I was working full-time for a smaller start-up company and I basically got told off for spending too much time “daydreaming” on how to grow my own business. I handed in my notice the next week, after I got accepted into the Ignite programme.
YC: I am now a full-time artist. Over the past three years, I was working in retail on/off, and it was a gruelling process. Around February I was let go and the decision to become a full-time artist was made for me.
At first it was a bit scary, but between my different social media clients and restarting my barista practice, (something I consider an art form), at Frequency Cafe in St George’s, I've managed to create a world sustaining myself from artwork and fulfilling, creative jobs. The time I have between barista work and social media work I can use to focus on my other crafts, such as music, modelling and, (in the case of the Masterworks show), painting.
Q: How big a deal is social media for sharing your work?
NBN: Currently, it is my primary method of sharing my artwork as I haven't been provided with many opportunities to show my work in galleries as of yet beyond Masterworks. Eventually, I would like to draw myself away from it and bring the people I gather from social media out of their phones and experience art in “real life”. As I grow as an artist I would like to exclusively show my work in galleries and in public.
DE: Social media is a big part of where I'm at today. If it wasn't for the ability to just share my work through sites like Instagram and YouTube I wouldn't have a medium to properly share my work in a way that gets it in front of people consistently. Instagram is my current main focus but I'm beginning to shift gears and build out an audience on YouTube through my series of interviews focused on young Black Bermudian creatives called Origin Stories. Social media allows me to not only share my perspective with the world but it allows me to tell stories that matter to me and those around me in a way that I wish was around when I first started my creative journey.
YC: In my other art forms (music, modelling), I find it imperative and easy to share my work on social media. But with painting, I find it more difficult. I think it's very important, and a helpful tool for monetising artwork. But painting is vulnerable for me, and I need to get a bit better and more comfortable advertising that I do it.
Q: How long did it take to prepare for this show?
NBN: It was just a matter of selecting the appropriate artworks to show and organising getting them there. I just went into my archive and picked pieces I’ve worked on in the past three years. I would like to thank everyone back in Bermuda that helped physically take my artwork to the gallery given that I am not in the country right now – my dad, Jonathan Northcott, iusecnre and Yassine the Artist.
DE: It took me about two months to prepare for the show – from concepting an idea for the gallery all the way to hanging the pieces and creating the video aspect for it. I have 28 photos on display and one video to accompany those photos that speaks on the creation of the gallery.
YC: The oldest piece in the show I've had since 2019, it was part of my high school show. Other than a couple pieces that were created in 2020, and one from 2021, everything was made 2022/23, with a good bit of pieces being finished or created in the month or week leading up to the show. I've developed a technique using acrylic paint and a hairdryer to paint and dry layers quickly. This allowed for me to get quick work done on a number of pieces. I also paint best at night, and work on multiple pieces at the same time to keep myself away from distractions and busy on one piece while letting the other rest. This process is exhausting, but incredibly rewarding once the work is finished and I can sleep.
Q: What is your favourite piece and why?
NBN:Three Worlds is my favourite piece because it is the best reflection of the artistic direction I am heading [towards].
DE: I don't have one specific favourite piece but I do have a favourite section. The section that captures the Bermuda Boxing Association trip to the Bahamas that I was on earlier this year. That trip was the first time I travelled outside of Bermuda with the sole intention of creating a body of work, and it was one of the best experiences I've ever had. The trip itself was a story that put us all through a range of emotions but what we were able to create from that week will always hold a place in my creative journey that I'm grateful for.
YC:De Guy, a large-scale portrait. I received a huge square canvas with two small rips in it, deeming it unsellable. I got very excited to transform this. This piece is my favourite because the entire show was abstract, and my other favourite thing to paint is portraits. However, I was out of practice, and lacked a projector (which I used to trace the dimensions). I decided to ignore my fears and try to create an abstract portrait anyway. It stands out as the only non-abstract piece in the show, and I decided to incorporate the rips into the portrait, making it seem like the character's forehead was being split open. It's creative, it breaks the canvas, it was a challenge and most of all it looks cool. A beautiful process.
441: Four Artists, Four Styles, One Show, runs at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art until Tuesday. Admission is free. For more information visit masterworksbermuda.org. Nikkie Richardson was not available for interview.
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