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Kaleidoscope of expressions on fabric

Published:Sunday | April 20, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Photos of leaves in a kaleidoscope and the final pattern transferred on fabric.
Pattern drawn on a linoleum stencil that would be carved and then used as a block to create patterns.
From concept to finish, a 3D pattern that forms the basis of the patterns transferred on fabric.
The creator and his creation, reflection of Rodell Warner as he shows one of his works, 'Psychedelic Pattern on Humans'.
Creations by Rodell Warner, Trinidad-based, self-taught artist, who seeks to create a confluence - the known with the unknown.
Creations by Rodell Warner, Trinidad-based, self-taught artist, who seeks to create a confluence - the known with the unknown.
Creations by Rodell Warner, Trinidad-based, self-taught artist, who seeks to create a confluence - the known with the unknown.

Amitabh Sharma, Contributor

Take a stroll, shoot random pictures, superimpose them, employ technology, pour tradition and create expressions - sounds like a heady concoction? This is what Rodell Warner is out to do, giving defined space to asymmetries.

"Expressing myself in art has given me the opportunity to appreciate whatever we normally tend to overlook," says Warner, a Trinidad and Tobago-based photographer and graphic designer.

Armed with an unconventional style, the self-taught artist is converging traditional traits with technology, creating myriad kaleidoscopic patterns.

Sitting in a room at New Local Space (NLS), an art incubator in Kingston, Warner meticulously merged photographs that he had taken of foliage to form a pattern, the cool tropical breeze, and the chirping of the birds provided background score.

"I want to create something that gives people a medium to engage in a conversation and be a part of work," he said.

The process

Warner seeks his subjects in the walks he takes in the countryside, photographing foliage and nature from his phone camera. "I then create a 3D model in the computer to look at the leaves and the flowers in a 360-degree perspective," he said.

These models are then stretched and mirrored to form patterns, which gives an impression of a live kaleidoscope, like pieces of glass and beads being viewed in reflection symmetry.

He is currently experimenting with putting these patterns of fabric to create a three-dimensional effect on a two-dimensional plane. To create this ripple effect, he hammers the fabric on the walls and lets it hang down. The curls of the fabric, as it flutters in the wind, give the design a wavy, eclectic movement.

Warner says he stumbled into art as a proverbial rebel, and frustrated with the system, to channel his energies in highlighting the positives, and thus began the journey.

Looking beyond the obvious is a path that Warner has traversed before.

At Trinidad Erotic Art Week 2009, in his first major work, PhotoBooth, Warner utilised interactive photography where people went into the photobooth to express how they saw sexuality. "I wanted to create a situation and see how people reacted and responded." This work earned him critical acclaim nationally.

He used human bodies to project eclectic prismatic patterns as an image, adding the third dimension to the design element. "I used people to bring on a physical realm to the patterns and make them multi-dimensional," he said.

Journey to the island

On a visit to Jamaica, on an art residency programme at NLS, Warren is hoping to showcase his work and encourage others to experiment with whatever tools they have to express their creativity.

His journey to the island is no less a product of a kaleidoscope of events.

"We needed funds to get Rodell to Jamaica," said Deborah Anzinger of NLS, "so we turned to crowdfunding (this is collection of finance from a large pool of backers - the 'crowd' - made online through a web platform) and raised money to facilitate his visit."

These are interesting times, indeed, because as much as there are clouds of adversity, it does take out-of-the-box thinking to get things done.

Albert Einstein once said: "Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions." Warren and his works are a living example.

Photos by Amitabh Sharma