Written by Gladstone Taylor
Cinematic. It's one word that might come to mind when you encounter the works of contemporary visual artist Taj Francis. His illustrations are colorful and crisp, with a signature fantasy-esque feel that sets his work apart. Way apart. Noted for tackling the nuances of humanity and religion, Taj's body of work somehow aims at refocusing post-colonial Jamaican culture, featuring the variety of subcultures that have been assimilated into it over time. Taj's attention to detail makes his work that much more strong and his masterful use of color and light give his pieces a radiant finish.
"This online store, and website on a whole is a big deal for me. It signals an ability and level of control I get to have in distributing and displaying my art the way I want to. To be able to make it available to anyone. For now, the store will feature select Limited Edition prints of my artwork."
Talk art for you in the past couple months, what has been your focus, what have you been working on.
I'm just having fun with it really, pacing things and creating a build up. My focus has been on creating these fine art prints, and working on my Audio-Visual project; TENFOLD Opus . Sales from these prints will pretty much help fund and further that project.
Tenfold is the name of your series, speak a bit on that, it's concepts, collaborations and so on.
It's the name of the entire brand I'm creating really. In my head, it started out as a series of work, but now I envision it as an entire brand, or identity. Just the idea behind it came from the idea of growth, balance and order. It's something that is pretty wide, so I encapsulate everything I'm doing now under that idea. The collaborative aspect is key for me now, I want to expand further than what I can do as individual, and what I know for myself, and work with other creatives and foster proper community through it in a sense.
You've been working very closely with Protoje from very early in his career, talk a little bit about this relationship.
We've been working together since 2009, since his first official single. It's been a very interesting growth and progression, and his drive and innovation is inspiring. You don't see a lot of that, you know. You don't see a lot of people invest so much into crafting a proper music career, and covering all bases, and striving to innovate. That's why I can work well with him, and because of his genuine trust and respect for the visual arts.
What are your thoughts on the Caribbean art scene right now?
It's growing, we're going to see an interesting shift in these coming years.
Talk about some of the side projects that you've been involved in recently.
Not much I can say right now. I did do some work with HONDA Jamaica for their new campaign. As well as my work with Paint Jamaica, which will continue. I recently worked on a project with Ma'Ati Magazine, who just got fully funded for their kick starter. It's an interesting project you can check out.
Ultimately where do you see your art going, or taking you?
Into un-explored territory I hope. I really see this as just the starting block, I intend to create worlds from my art. Not in a pretentious sense, but something that kids who where like me can get inspired by, and help create a cycle of growth and creativity. I want this to be bigger than me, or any one person, that's where I see this going.