Zarna Hart

Caribbean Creatives

About

Talking about yourself is a challenge. Talking about yourself in the context of your work is even more challenging. In my case, my practice is so very aligned with who I am as a person, that the challenge lies in separating my personal self from my designer-self. But alas, I’ve found solace in relaying how both go hand in hand.

Ironically, graphic design was never in the cards for me. Though I had applied to a myriad of degree programs under the umbrella of Art & Design, Graphic Design was my plan Z. Luckily, I had been awarded a scholarship to study at Cardiff Metropolitan University- everything I could have wanted and more; a chance to explore European grounds. However, to my dismay, my plan Z was listed big and bold in my acceptance letter, but I could not lose sight of what I truly wanted. So, off to Cardiff I went, lacking knowledge and/or preparation of what was to come.

Life has a strange way of piecing together these, at the time, detrimental circumstances that eventually become divine intervention. This is my favourite form of magic: coincidence. I had quickly and wholeheartedly fallen in love with Design and all that it had encompassed. It has been challenging as well as surprising to me in so many ways. It was the fast-brewed love for design and a dear friend of mine that encouraged me to live in Berlin, Germany for a year- a place that I will always hold close to my heart. Being there chiseled my sensibility and understanding for design and how it came to be. From art history, to architecture, to contemporary art, to cultural integration: I was witnessing my life and love of art being influenced by design in real-time. I’ll never forget learning about Erik Spiekermann, Berlin-based design genius, who designed the metro-map and brand identity for the major public transportation system in Berlin- something I was using almost everyday. And it’s in those moments that you appreciate your life’s journey. Design has connected so many dots, has introduced me to amazing people, and has curated new paths for the way I view my career.

John Berger, a prolific art critic, once said, “the relation between what we see and what we know is never settled,” and that is the best way I can describe executed design in relation to its process. It’s astoundingly humbling. There are design processes that span between 2 hours to two years, yet still we are constantly surrounded by and engage with design. Design is a language. Design is time. Design is a feeling. Design is reactive to everyday living. Ultimately, this is why I feel so passionate about the creative industry because it stirs conversation that resonates with and reacts to the human experience (as we know it).

That being said, I am an independent graphic designer and currently developing my brand/studio practice ’ZH.’ Additionally, I am grateful to say that I work alongside some inspirational brands such as Designer Island and NEW FIRE Festival- both pioneers in changing the narrative within Caribbean society. Together, they serve as inspirational platforms for me as a designer, but also for my personal interest in writing (zarnahart.com/journal). This form of reflection helps foster my curiosity and in turn, brings me closer to the creative community in the Caribbean as well as the rest of the world.

P.S. To anyone who may be reading this and wondering who that silhouette in your computer/ mobile screen may become, I hope that my brief reflection encourages you to strive for that one thing you’re almost desperate to achieve. Sometimes it’s okay to not know where you’re going or how a big life decision will affect you in the long run. Create the opportunities, appreciate the coincidences.

Skillset

Branding, Editorial Design, Digital Design, Infographics, Poster Design, Package Design, Internal Communications, Art Directing, Pasta-eating (had to throw that in somewhere).

Favourite Projects

Choosing a favourite is quite difficult because I find myself enjoying most of the projects I do for varying reasons. I’d say some of my highlights of 2018 were Rebel Lion Youth (RLY), Unwine ~ Sip and Paint, Meiling’s Into The Night 2019 Collection, joining the Designer Island team and working on the brand development for NEW FIRE Festival 2019 (will post on the website soon!).

Most Challenging Projects

My most challenging projects are without a doubt, the most personal ones. Self-initiated work requires in-depth research, reflection, and if you’re a perfectionist like I am, a lot of time. At the moment, I’m working on a piece that discusses multiculturalism in relation to semiotics and branding- which I’m really excited about!

Future Zarna

My design process lies in curiosity and attention to detail. Furthermore, my objective is to affect change in the way design is seen and treated, particularly in the Caribbean. I want what I do to give reason and purpose to how we live and who we become; to disrupt the things that we are afraid to change. I don’t know where my career will take me, but if my work, no matter what capacity, lends to a greater, socio-related conversation, I would feel as though I have done my job well.

Client Work


Contact Zarna

Website: zarnahart.com

Email: zarnahart@gmail.com

Instagram: @zarnahart

Yannick Gibson

Caribbean Creatives

About Me

I am an avid Marketing enthusiast who just happens to also love fashion. In fact, what I love about one discipline, I love about the other. Both fields incorporate a blend of creative and business, they are both super fast-paced, and they both – whether consciously or not – affect, and are affected by society as a whole.

I believe that the fashion industry is often viewed as superficial and frivolous, when in reality there is such an intellectual component to it. Sure, fashion is and should be fun, but it also is an undeniable form of artistic expression for all involved.

Having studied sciences throughout high school, and then business marketing at a tertiary level, I am grateful for the fact that my personal creativity has been informed not only by the many travel opportunities I have been fortunate enough to have, but also by the meticulous skills that I have developed during my studies.

I enjoy the logical side to fashion but I also believe it should be evocative, and make one feel something.
As a result, I tend to be somewhat more particular about the work that I create, often described as not only an overachiever, but as a perfectionist – a deadly combo.

What I Do

Currently, I am doing a Masters degree in Marketing & Strategy in the U.K.

But apart from that, I am also a fashion blogger. I use this platform to keep abreast of fashion-related goings-on and to help refine my own creative eye. It is very interesting to me to see trends – both socially and in the fashion world – develop.

I am also working on a creative portfolio which includes a carnival costume I designed, as well as a series of photoshoots I creatively directed and participated in!

Skillset

Creative Direction, Art Direction, Fashion Blogging, Fashion Marketing

What I Want My Work to Do

I want my work to showcase the fun, vibrant and colorful side to fashion. It doesn’t have to all be serious!
I’m Caribbean after all, so these values are intrinsic to me – and of course I would want my work to reflect that!

I try to create strong images that make viewers think or feel something.
As stereotypical as it sounds, I really aim to capture moods and moments that makes one stop to question “what is [the model] doing?”, “why is he/she doing that?”, “why are they in this particular setting?” – for me, it needs to be more than just a pretty image.

Fashion is so subjective, and I’d like to think my work is as well.
Depending on our own personal experiences, we all respond differently when we see certain images. Maybe it’s the marketer in me, but I really push myself to understand why and how these perceptions are different, and to be honest, I really like that intellectual component of the industry.


Contact Yannick

Personal Instagram: @yarnes08

Fashion Blog: Citizen of the Planet

Blog Instagram@yannick.gibson

 

Sheneice James

Caribbean Creatives

About me:

Before university, my life was about me not trying to be myself. I was weird. People thought I was strange. I was always unusual and didn’t fit in.  SO I spent all of my high school life trying to be less-extra, less loud. Every term I would tell myself, “This time, you’re not going to be crazy. You’re gonna be like everybody else. You’re not gonna shout, and you’re not gonna laugh that hard, and you’re not going to say off the wall shit.” But it never worked. By the time I was in form 6, I started to accept that I was a bit different. Not that I didn’t have friends, but I was always the weird friend. Interestingly enough, I was always friends with the popular people. I don’t know why. People weren’t mean to me, they still liked me. I just never fit in.

It wasn’t until I got to UTT and was around creatives all the time, that I stopped feeling different. Everyone in university was a creative just like me, so I tried to relax into being myself a bit more. Although I was finally around people who were like me and I felt less pressure to fit in, there was a lot going on behind the scenes that ultimately led to my complete emotional shut-down.

Making the decision to do fashion design really threw my parents for a loop, and I had to fight for so long just to be able to do what I had always wanted to do. Even though my dream ever since I was 15 was to go to fashion school abroad, I wasn’t able to do that because I didn’t have the support, so I went to UTT. Really and truly, I wasn’t ready to be able to go out there on my own. I didn’t have anyone to hold my hand and walk me through it. On top of that there was some boy drama. It was the first time I really liked someone and put myself out there, and it didn’t end up working out very well. My response to that was to shut down completely emotionally to just about everyone, and it all happened at the same time that I was fighting with my family, and my dad was moving to Tobago. The hardest part was that I was by myself a lot while going through all of these things. I thought that I was moving on as time passed but in reality, I was just swallowing my feelings and locking them away, progressively becoming more and more numb. By the time I was finished at UTT, I had no connection with my emotions.

After UTT, I decided to move to London and study fashion for 6 months at Central Saint Martins. While moving was one of the best things that ever happened to me in The grander scheme of things, it was a dark time emotionally. It was as though everything hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that I didn’t know who I was, or what I wanted to do, or who I wanted to be as a designer. Everything immediately just got so hard. I wasn’t really able to do as much as I would have been able to if I had a better understanding of myself. Yet still, the amount of work that I did and what I achieved was so important for me, and it contributed a lot towards getting me to where I am now.

The first thing I did after coming home from London was trying to work through all of my emotions. It was a deep, difficult process of digging into my childhood. Eventually, I had a breakthrough and I connected to the source to all of my pain at the time; it was a huge release. For the first time in years, I was in touch with my feelings again.

Despite that, I was still unclear as to who I was. I remember visiting Barcelona for a weekend while I was studying in London, and passing the Sagrada Familia on the tourbus. The guide shared a short story about Gaudi and his work, and what his work meant to him. It was so special to me. Since that moment, I knew that exploring his work would be connected to me figuring myself out (hippie ting) so I gathered all of my savings and went to Europe.

I spent all of my time collecting things that I loved and documenting the experience. I studied Gaudi’s work and learned more about him and the meaningfulness in his art. In experiencing that and seeing that, I found my direction in terms of what I wanted design to mean to me and what I would have needed from design for myself.

It took me back to a letter I read at 15, that the dean of Parsons wrote to prospective students. He described art as the thing that shapes the world that we live in and you having the ability to not just leave a mark on the world, but to actually define your life and shape the space that you experience. There was also the fact that the world that you live in has already been shaped and defined by someone else. Everything was created by someone: the roads we drive on, the cars we drive in, the buildings we live in. Everything was created by an artist. Seeing Gaudi’s work and how big of an impact his art made on the identity of Barcelona was unbelievably inspiring. One could argue that it is the lifeblood of Barcelona, and what makes it so special. It’s his expression all over the place. His art; his architecture.

I came home and proceeded to try to do a collection for myself. It was the first collection I’d done where I was intentionally digging into my emotions, and choosing and collecting things based on how I was feeling. When I sat there and looked at everything, I noticed a common thread, so I asked myself, “What am I trying to say?”

With no initial answer I continued to build the collection based on instinct over the next few months. Afterwards, I stepped back and looked at the collection. It was me. I was able to see myself and see what I was reflecting. It was feminine, and sweet and sensual and all of these emotions that I’d never really expressed.

At that time, I also challenged myself to share more with people, so I knew that I needed to share this collection. I reached out to stylist Stephanie Ramlogan who I followed. She had a reputation of being very honest and upfront, so I knew that she would tell it as it is. If she saw it and she didn’t like it, she would just say that she did not like it, and honestly, it was her positive response to the collection that made me believe that it was now the right time to share it.

I packed the collection and sent it to her in New York because at that time everyone who I wanted to work with from the model to the photographer was there. From the moment Stephanie showed me the completed first look with the hair, and the makeup, and this dream model, I cried. I sobbed. I couldn’t catch myself. It was as though I was seeing myself outside of myself. It was a complete and totally reflection of Sheneice. A true moment of validation. This collection was my gift to myself.

Skillset

Fashion Design, Styling

About my collection:

My collection is a true reflection of who I am. So sharing my collection with people is basically me sharing myself with them.

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My favourite shot:

This captures everything I want to say.

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My favourite moment so far:

The first time I saw my dress fully styled. This is the photo that brought me to tears:

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My favorite thing about what I do:

Even though design is this beautiful thing, it is still very stressful. My actual favorite thing to do is styling the looks when I’m done making them. The most perfect thing is taking a photo of the collection at the end. It’s extremely rewarding because of how long the process is. But then again, I don’t know if I would enjoy it as much if I didn’t toil and labor over it.

The type of brand I want to build:

I want to create for the person that wants to add pockets of whimsy to their everyday life. My work is meant to be fun, feminine and sensual. It’s meant to stir up an almost child-like excitement in the wearer or viewer. It will always be heavy detail-oriented, and will always be about mixing textures, patterns and prints.

What’s next for me:

I’m moving to Florence to study fashion brand management because I would like to run my own brand one day. I spend a lot of time doing research, and what I’ve learned is that when young designers leave school and try to jump straight into starting a brand, they end up “bouncing dey head”. It’s very difficult. There’s a huge learning curve that can be a real challenge to overcome because design is just the first step to running a fashion business. This degree is perfect for me because it’s a combination of creative direction and management. So, yeah! You’ll just have to wait and see!


Instagram: @sheneicejames

 

 

 

Marlon James

Caribbean Creatives

About me:

“Marlon was born in 1980 in Kingston, Jamaica and is currently based in The Republic of Trinidad & Tobago. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, which includes group exhibitions at The National Gallery of Jamaica, Punkt Ø / Galleri F15(Norway)  Gallery of Mississauga(Canada), The IDB Cultural Center(D.C.), Art Museum of Americas(D.C.), Bargehouse(London), Aliceyard(Trinidad). He has also been published in Small Axe: A Caribbean Art Jornal41, Pictures from Paradise, Jamaica Art: Then and Now and ARC Magazine Issue 4. He received his BFA from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in 2003.”- adapted from Autobiography

Skillset

Fashion Photography, Commercial Photography, Fine Art Photography, Retouching (Personal & for Clients)

Favourite thing about my job:

What I enjoy the most is the process of getting the winning shot. Sometimes it’s not planned, which makes it more exciting for me.

Favourite thing I’ve ever shot:

This is a difficult answer to give, because I would be excited or extremely happy about a particular shoot I’ve done, then it disappears when I do another assignment that may be more interesting/different from the last shoot.

Photography goals:

I would love to do a fashion editorial for a major magazine or brand, as well as have my personal projects be exhibited in international galleries.


Contact Marlon

Instagram: @moderndaycaveman
Email: m.jamesphotography@gmail.com

Celine Choo Woon Chee

Caribbean Creatives

About Me:

I grew up in Santa Cruz, Trinidad and Tobago and had a pretty sheltered life (for the most part). I attended Bishop Anstey High School (POS) which informed parts of who I consider myself to be now.

But I really gained my independence when I moved to the States for University. My four years at the University of Delaware, where I received a Bsc. Biochemistry and a minor in Woman Studies, shaped who I am today. It was the first time being away from my overprotective parents and it was the first time being in a predominately white space (America) for an extended period.

During University, I was fortunate enough to visit Trinidad every ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ vacation and about the summer of before my sophomore year I began to feel distant to a place that I called home. The dissonance grew but in the same vein Trinidad still felt the closest I’d ever come to feeling home.

Concurrently, I’ve never seen faces that looked like mine around me and to this day I’ve yet to experience that. I’ve always felt slightly displaced and I think I use art to try take these intangible feelings, emotions and thoughts to create something physical that I hope connects with other people.

Art is one of the ways I try to connect with other people and the world in a way that language can’t. It also helps me to explore myself and that dissonance in a way that is therapeutic for me. Through my art I think that a feeling of belonging has grown within me, whether that is harmony within a place or within myself or both.

Skillset:

Painting, Drawing, Design, Photography, Fashion, Creative Direction

What I Want my Art to do:

While my art is, half me sorting through my emotions and aiming to communicate as best I can in hopes that someone will connect with it, I also want it to keep pushing art and artists forward.

Progress in terms of:

  1. Innovating abstract and absurd art that doesn’t inherently have to mean anything but challenges boundaries.
  2. Questioning/analyzing societal norms in hopes of trying to better society.
  3. Connecting to myself more in hopes of other people striving towards their self-actualization.


Contact Celine

Instagram: @celine_cwc

Emailcelinechoowoonchee@gmail.com

Collaborations: @acutean9le between my friend, Bakhita and I where we create art inspired by our social and physical spaces. (Medium: Photography)