About Kraig Yearwood:
Kraig Yearwood is a Barbadian artist and designer. Yearwood studied graphic design at Barbados Community College. He has worked as a freelance graphic designer, and has also worked as lead designer for his self owned clothing label where he has showcased at some of the region’s biggest fashion weeks. His mainly uses mixed media in his visual art practice and to date he has exhibited in numerous local and international group shows, as well as having 5 solo exhibitions.
Yearwood says his approach to his work is partially intuitive while often informed by minimalist sensibilities, and lists eclectic influences such as introspection, relationships, nature and local and global current affairs for much of his production. Many compositions certainly feature a sense of structure and order that we often associate with graphic design, yet these elements are often broken and interrupted by marks that suggest another layer of idiosyncratic reasoning.
And so, the journey begins….
As soon as I learned I’d been awarded this residency, I was engulfed by two emotions: excitement and nervousness. I was excited that I’d perhaps have an opportunity to explore new directions and materials; but also nervous because I haven’t been working on these types of projects for many months, and now I actually have to kick into gear and get to work.
This 1st week, I stuck to my plan of doing as much reading and research as possible on the themes and concepts that I was thinking of exploring, as well as on the materials I wish to delve into. I usually prefer solitude when I’m working – however, during this week, I don’t think that I’ve ever felt more alone with my thoughts or more aware of time. Never a bad thing, right?
It’s now the conclusion of my 2nd week at the Fresh Milk residency, and I’m a bit more focused and much more clear on the direction of the work. Usually my mixed media production relies on the use and incorporation of items and found objects that I find some aesthetic quality in, but during this residency my main focus will be exploring the inclusion of garbage and objects mainly acquired during my walks and runs across the length and breath of Barbados, as well as trash generated during my stay.
In the week ahead, it’s my hope continue to work on a few of the themes I’ve been developing and to introduce the use of resin.
During my 1st week and most of my 2nd, I’ve had neither the time nor the head-space to enjoy and appreciate just how beautiful the grounds that are home to Fresh Milk are. It was while waiting for cement to dry on Friday that I decided to explore the outside of my studio a bit take in the amazing flora and fauna in every corner. Yes, while it’s true the Fresh Milk platform is located a working dairy farm, there’s no shortage of all manner of critters as well as an impressive array of plants and flowers and of course beautiful Caribbean light.
Week number 3 at Fresh Milk has been a mixed bag; and if I’m being totally honest, a bit disjointed.
Happily, I’ve really started to get a handle on how the concrete reacts, and as such a better understanding of its characteristics, possibilities and limitations. While I’m loving all its various textural nuances and the ability to embed various materials, getting accustomed to the materials’ prep and drying times has been a challenge since I am not used to using mediums with long drying times. Perhaps this stems from primarily utilizing a hairdryer for most of my acrylic works. This is my preferred method of hurrying the drying process, out of a little impatience and eagerness to allow additions to be made to artwork. However, I am getting used to the wait.
In addition, I’m gaining more clarity conceptually, relative to overall directions I wish to take, on individual pieces I’m working to resolve, and those I have yet to get started on. On Saturday, I was privileged to have a studio visit with Natalie McGuire, Gallery Manager at Gallery NuEdge, where we discussed the themes that I’m currently working on. I’m interested in using a broader theme of “the shifting philosophies of the traditional Caribbean landscape to one which is littered not only physically but figuratively as well.” The land is becoming a mirror for the mindsets of our people. This main theme of interest is accompanied by satellite themes of consumption, mass manufacturing and materialism.
It’s amazing how time flies. At the onset, a month seemed a long time, but with one week left I’ve constantly been feeling like I need to do more. This week I’ve found it hard to balance my output and expectations with all the other projects and commitments outside of the residency. It was only after a chat with an art colleague, that I was reminded that we are artists and not machines, that sometimes things happen in their own time.
So…it’s with that timely reminder that I go into my final week with renewed energy and a plan to focus on things that can realistically be completed by week’s end; with the knowledge that as the residency comes to a close, that the exploration has only just begun.
Final Blog Post
The Lost Blog
Okay, the title is a bit of a misnomer – I guess it’d be more accurate to say that life got in the way of writing this final blog post.
Once again, I can’t believe how time flies. As I cast my mind back to when I started the My Time Residency, it’s strange to imagine that my 1st week at Fresh Milk seemed to drag on endlessly and I was in a constant battle with myself about not doing enough. This was despite my using this week to work on possible directions as well as researching some of the materials I was hoping to work with.
I’ve stated previously, on commencement of my residency, that I had no solid ideas other than I’d known I’d wished to play with materials I’d never used before and also wanted to explore the use of collected trash items. As I got deeper into my stay, I started to focus on exploring themes of materialism, mass production, excess and what we leave behind.
Knowing that I still had to develop ideas for the social outreach component of the residency, I decided to create an environmental awareness programme which would be geared towards primary school students. The aim of this workshop was to educate the children on the importance of proper waste disposal, drawing attention to local and global environmental issues, community activism and the importance of teamwork in tackling such issues. Workmans Primary was selected mainly due to having a very limited arts programme as well as the existing relationship between the school and the residency platform. The workshop began with a with video presentation focusing on environmental awareness and recycling tips, and was followed by a question and answer segment. The children were then split into groups where they were invited to colour and collage bits of trash items on to a poster which was illustrated by myself, depicting an appropriate method of waste disposal as well as the consequences of litter. To conclude, the class was given a smaller version of the poster to take home, as well as a handout which included interesting facts on the environment and a small activities section.
FRESH MILK XX Event
On Tuesday May 9th I wrapped up my time at Fresh Milk with a showing of the work made or conceptualised during this stint, as well as participating in a Q & A with international curator Pamela Lee. Pamela also delivered an eye opening presentation on the connections between the areas of Art and Science. This well attended event was brilliantly capped off by the then current resident, US-based poet drea brown, who spoke on her residency experiences which was followed by an engaging poetry reading.
Although this might be the 1st time that I’ve perhaps failed to complete a body of work, I do believe that the Fresh Milk platform has provided me with an invaluable experience. It has allowed me some much needed time to focus on making artwork, experiment and introduce new materials into my practice in a new and supportive environment.
Much thanks to Annalee Davis and Katherine Kennedy.