Wed | Dec 11, 2019

Graphic artist Jason Panton suggests Reggae Sumfest/Rebel Salute poster competitions

Published:Sunday | April 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small
Positive Vibrations Exhibition in Liverpool, England.
Patrons enjoying The Art of Reggae Exhibition at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.
Positive Vibrations Exhibition in Liverpool, England.

In last year's staging of the International Reggae Poster Competition, it was observed that there were no Jamaican entrants. Final selection jury panellist Jason Panton is not concerned by the absence of Jamaican artists in the competition, as he considers the international effort the work of people inspired by the music forms paying their respect.

In his eyes, the posters ranging from countries far and wide are postcards, or 'happy birthday' cards.

"Don't dwell on the Jamaican entries. The posters are worldwide postcards back to Jamaica. It's showcasing how much reggae means to people across the globe. In Northern California, you hear it a lot at Reggae On The River, people greeting each other with 'Happy Reggae!'," he said.

"They opened (IRPC) up to the world, and the world seems to be more interested. When it comes to reggae music and promotion, majority of the art done for that is done off-island," Panton observed.

Pointing to Dubwise Jamaica's Instagram page, Panton deliberated the distinctive features of the event's promotion. "There's a creative direction. Other events don't have that. We're not creating iconic artwork because everything is rush-rush. As a part of Dubwise - I give myself time to be creative. I make sure the artwork is special. Many Jamaican designers are not allowed that time. The good designers in Jamaica are just doing a lot for corporate Jamaica - we have the talent, but everybody is busy with the paper chase," he opined.

Dub School and Inner City Dub are two running events the accomplished designer believes have undertaken curating their distinctive creative designs.

Panton believes that there should be a localised reggae poster competition, to encourage more creative approaches to promotional design. "It would be nice if we did more work with the youth. In terms of visual art, there should be a lot more done at the tertiary and secondary-school level, to get students used to using quality material and learning visual fundamentals. Everything's based off raw talent in Jamaica. When kids go to Edna, we're harnessing what God gave them," he told The Sunday Gleaner.

The graphic artist also has residency at the School of Visual Arts at Edna Manley College of th ePerforming Arts via Diaspora Vibe Gallery.

Agreeing to the need of a local competition, Panton is suggesting galvanising the graphic art and poster-design culture in Jamaica, involving the island's two highly anticipated stage shows - Reggae Sumfest and Rebel Salute.

"Reggae Sumfest could be doing something to keep the youth excited in a different way. There could be a Sumfest poster competition for the school youths in Montego Bay - a north coast poster competition through 10 high schools - who win tickets for their families. These are the things we want to encourage. Rebel Salute is like a family show. They can host a competition. I'm gonna figure it out and put it to some people," Panton affirmed.

Panton's own interest in art was sparked and maintained by a competition he won as a young boy, winning his first competition in the third grade. "I'll never forget - I did a thing with flowers and I won! The painting was hung in the bank that my mom went to do her banking. It gave me a sense of pride," he recalled.