The growing community of young Caribbean artists continues to find avenues for exposure, clearly illustrating not only that talent and skill level know no age, but that millennial artistic expression has a veritable place on the canvas.
AJ Rogers is part of this vibrant community that is bursting with talent and novel ideas that characterise its style and messages communicated through its art. His work is being exhibited at Uncorked Wines and Spirits at 20-22 Tragarete Road, Port of Spain. Titled Impression: the Art of AJ Rogers, the exhibition runs until November 17. Newsday caught up with Rogers after a successful opening last week and he shared the secrets of his creative sources.
He explained the exhibition is named Impression for its showcasing of what the artist refers to as “snapshots” of his career’s progress thus far. “Having been on the art scene for the last four years, I wanted to show where I started, where I am now and where I want to go. Patrons can track how I’ve grown and blossomed over the years through the evolution of the visual narrative that I want to tell.”
Having presented his work alongside other artists on a number of occasions, Rogers is no stranger to collaboration. “I must thank Uncorked Wines and Spirits and Ain Earle, founder and lead consultant at the Fashion Arch; she came to a few of my exhibitions in the past and I kept running into her so we started a dialogue,” he explained.
How would the artist describe his own work? “I would call myself a mixed media artist. I don’t want to shoehorn myself into one [category] but for now, it’s mixed media,” Rogers said. “I combine different media –paints, graphite, inks, different types of paper, even collages; I mix all these different techniques into one visual narrative and present it as my aesthetic.”
These are the varied tools of Rogers’ trade, but from where does he draw his inspiration? Many of his influences come from the mundane, the everyday interactions, the passersby, distilled into emotional expressions and statements, each with purposes of their own, he revealed.
“Inspiration can come from a bunch of different places for me,” Rogers admitted. “It could be a conversation with someone, something that I overheard while travelling, something that I might have seen. Inspiration is infinite.”
While Rogers’ influences can be taken from all aspects of his day-to-day experience, his works are, however, governed by a handful of recurring themes. “I keep revisiting mental health, also perspective, and the highs and lows, the journeys of life. These influence and inspire my work in various ways. If you think about it, perspective is the basis of the way in which we all experience life; we can all be presented with the same thing but interpret it or react differently to it based on a series of variables.”
Touching on the themes of psychology and perspective allow him to communicate not only things that resonate with him but with the viewer, he said.
“I don’t just want to present [a piece] as one-sided or as my story; yes, I want to tell my story and I want for you to identify that I have a narrative in there but I want to present [my work] as universal so that each person who comes into contact with a piece can have their own story being brought into it and to have a unique interaction with the pieces in this showcase.”