Reflections: Celebrating 50 Years of the West Indian American Day Carnival

Reflections Ann. Images.jpg

As a life long Bronx resident I am elated and proud to have curated an exhibition that celebrates my West Indian heritage. With the support of BXArts Factory and hosted by the Montefiore Fine Arts program ArtViews gallery, the exhibition is on view through early October at Montefiore Moses Campus, 90 East 210th St. Bronx, NY 10467.

The West Indian population of the Bronx, NY is 8% or 106,000 people from various islands lying between southeastern North America and northern South America bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic and comprising the Greater Antilles, Lesser Antilles and Bahamas.  The largest event in New York City that celebrates and honors Caribbean culture, arts, history and traditions is the West Indian American Day Carnival, which is comprised of week-long festivities and a grand finale. The grand finale Carnival reaches over one million people in attendance during Labor Day weekend with participants and tourists from all over the world.

Reflections: Celebrating 50 Years of the West Indian American Day Carnival celebrates and honors the history of the Caribbean carnival by reflecting on the West Indian population in the Bronx, NY and noting their impact and long-lasting influence on their community and NYC. Through the lens of 5 Bronx-based photographers, the vibrancy, tradition and impact of West Indian Americans are captured by the photographs on display. Artists Trevon Blondet, Ijeoma D. Iheanacho, Jonathan Joseph, Omesh Persaud and Harri “Indio” Ramkishun each take on a subtheme of inspiration from the West Indian community. Together the photographs share the energy and strength of the West Indian population and the groups influence to the political, economic and cultural vitality of the North Bronx.

For more information:

Boy and Sheep Design Studio


BoyandSheep. Jonathan Joseph. 2013

BoyandSheep offers innovative and unique graphic design, illustration and photography services. Founded by Jonathan Joseph in Brooklyn, New York, the brand continues to expand and develop in the creative industry. One of my favorite photographers, I was thrilled when he agreed to the interview which is below. Enjoy learning about BoyandSheep! (He graciously conducted my cover photo shoot)

1. What are your mediums of self-expression in art?

My workflow heavily relies on the combination of hand drawing and the use of graphic design tools such as Illustrator and Photoshop. My ideas usually start from a sketch on a piece of paper or a picture and the end product is created on my trusted laptop. I began making posters in early 2012 as personal projects to keep myself in “design mode”. So far, I’ve designed book covers, stickers, t-shirts, and business cards. As far as I see it, there are no limits to my mediums of expression. Art is a tool that can be used to engage and stimulate the mind, and there are numerous ways that can be done. I don’t mind doing it all.

2.      Describe your design studio in three words.

Not. Enough. Space.

3.      What is your favorite subject matter to document? Why?

I like to document people and the urban environment. This interest stems directly from my background as an urban planner. I enjoy the urban environment because it’s inherently dynamic and eclectic in nature. I moved to New York City when I was 15 and it never ceases to amaze me. The city is our ‘natural’ habitat; society thrives in density which facilitates organization and chaos, breeds tension, harbors productivity and skills, cultivates and mixes cultures and so on. Through my art, I want to document aspects of contemporary urban living and lifestyle. I want to highlight the highs and the lows of society with the intent of facilitating some type of discourse around the way in which we live as a society.

4.      Tell us about your Committed series.

The Committed series is an idea that I came up with while working with my friends, the Brueklen Boys. Through them, I had the opportunity to meet many wonderful young and seasoned entrepreneurs throughout Brooklyn.  This was both thrilling and exciting for me, and I wanted to create something that would be symbolic of their work and commitment to succeed in their respective fields. I wasn’t sure what it would look like, but it just came to me one day and I ran with it. I remember sketching the concept at work and working on the design that same night. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a number of small business owners, musicians, artists and others about my work and what it represents. I envisioned the Committed series to be a platform by which these individuals can talk about how Brooklyn has shaped their experiences as entrepreneurs. I want to highlight the importance, contribution and commitment of musicians, artists, small business owners, community leaders etc. to the vibrancy and success of their communities.

Committed to BKLYN 2013 ver 1_Low Res (2)

BoyandSheep. Committed to BKLYN. 2013.

5.      What future projects are you working on in your community of Brooklyn?

Other than the Committed series I don’t have any Brooklyn-based project per se. I have been commissioned for upcoming projects, but I’m hoping that the Committed series will open the door to other exciting opportunities. I am interested in anything that combines art, design and urban planning, so I’m willing to utilize my skills in any way that will have a positive impact in any urban context, especially here in Brooklyn.

6.      Where do you go for inspiration?

In a city as wonderful as New York, inspiration is only a stone’s throw away. I find inspiration from my surroundings, the work of artists, designers, entrepreneurs, my friends, wherever it’s available. It also depends on what I’m working on. Pinterest has been a great source of designer eye candy for me, as well as Instagram and other design based websites like GOOD.

7.      What ways can people get in touch with your art?

Currently I sell my work through my personal website and Etsy.

8.      What advice would you give to fellow artists about being involved in their community?

Our communities are a source of inspiration; we as denizens see what works and what doesn’t. Whatever drives you, use your art to document, inspire, motivate and instigate. Artists and designers are an important part of our communities whether it’s painting murals or engaging in the community design process. It’s just a matter of taking that first step, being open and putting yourself out there, staying involved and being committed.

Committed to BKLYN 2013 ver 6_Low Res (2)

BoyandSheep. Committed to BKLYN. 2013