Sean Hamilton - sowing seeds of creativity
Sean Hamilton is not your average artist. He is a farmer, taxi driver and a man of the soil. Hamilton is creating art in harmony with nature and its elements.
"Basically, they call me the artist," he said in an interview with The Gleaner's Multimedia Photo Editor Ricardo Makyn, who made an impromptu stop at Planter's Hill, St Catherine, intrigued by the abstract figurines that dotted Hamilton's yard.
"I sit around and think ... ," Hamilton said, perched on his throne-like wood-carved chair, under an awning made from twigs and bush. "I have pure artwork in the front ... I create."
Hamilton's romance with art was the proverbal love at first sight.
It all began when he was at the Old Harbour High School, the first day he went to art class when he was Grade 9.
"There was a piece in the corner of the class made purely from plastic bottles, and I fell in love with it," Hamilton said, adding that this was the only class from which he was never absent. "I never give any trouble at the class," he said.
But the struggles of life took over, the 36-year old said. He was hustling to make a living; but, somewhere, his inner artist refused to be dormant.
"I always have an artistic eye, I always do things creatively. Even when I plant the flowers, I did it in a creative way," Hamilton said.
That spark of inspiration did come to him one day, he said, and he went into isolation to think about his next creation. "You have to leave all of those drinking, driving, and friendship come back and sit down and create a couple of pieces," he said.
Nature is Hamilton's inspiration, and media is derived from nature coconut trees, primarily. "It is a beautiful tree, and it is the main tree on the island," he said. "The material is authentic."
African art and ancient art is what he calls his creations, which he says are for viewing pleasure, and not for sale. "I don't charge people. I educate them," Hamilton said. "It is something for the people to stop and admire."
Hamilton says that he has his share of followers, passersby who would stop to take photos of the eclectic artwork made by this self-taught artist. Most of the creations are perched precariously, but he says that they won't fall.
"There is physics behind it," he said. "I know a little physics and I know a little chemistry. All of it comes together in these pieces ... . Even after 10 years when I come back, I would see them there, if people don't touch it, or like the donkey you see passing a while ago, don't touch it."
Hamilton currently has six pieces on display at home, and he is taking his time to create the next.
"I don't try to rush and fill up the place with the pieces ... all of the pieces that I do are inspiration pieces," he said. "Like the bird, it took me six months to create ... teeny tiny teeny tiny, not try to rush, if you can't get through, just wait ... leave it and come back and you know what I mean ..."
For Hamilton, a simple village person, art is something that comes from within and something that he has not imagined his life without. Creating a legacy, according to him, gives him more gratification than earning hard cash.
"Artist don't run no money, run no comment, or run no crowd," he said. "That's why they are dead broke. Maybe people will recognise when I am dead ... like Picasso and da Vinci, the best artists ever born. They were broke ... and that is how the men live their lives, you know."
Hamilton said that he wants his art to stand the test of time and last a lifetime just like Bob Marley's music.
"That's how my art is ... my pieces will be around for many millions of years," he said.
Hamilton 'the artist', who is on terra firma, and for whom terabytes and 140 characters of online expression might sound like science fiction, said, "I tell them the only thing that they can do is to take a picture with their BlackBerry, frame it up, and hang it in their house."
- Watch the interview with Sean Hamilton at http://bit.do/SowingSeedsOfCreativity