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Working his way back home - artist doing what he truly loves

Published:Sunday | March 18, 2012 | 12:00 AM

These days fine artist Thorold DeMercado is spending most of his time doing what he truly loves - painting. Having lived and worked in London since 1996, he is now retired and planning to return home to Jamaica soon to reside in his family home in Brown's Town, St Ann. In the meantime, he is keeping his brush busy working in oils and acrylics on his favourite subjects such as old Jamaican houses, and landscapes. He has also been working on portraits which he has been commissioned to do.

His first exhibition was held at The Pegasus Gallery in St Andrew in 2007, and he hopes to show the series that he is presently working on, in the near future.

His favourite artists are Blackdoor and Albert Huie.

DeMercado had been interested in art from an early age while living next door to an artist and seeing him bring things to life on paper. His favourite subjects while attending high school at St George's College on North Street in Kingston were biology and geometry because of the drawing element, but he got no formal training until he attended Pel's School of Art (now a part of the Pratt Institute) in New York, in the late 1960s, where he studied graphic design and advertising.

journalism stalwarts

His working career in graphic design began in New York, and he returned to Jamaica in 1971 where he worked in advertising for two years, first at the now defunct Daily News. Although he was looking for a job in the advertising department, he was steered to editorial design by the paper's first editor, the late J.C. Proute.

He rose through the ranks from trainee subeditor to chief subeditor under the guidance of such journalism stalwarts as Ewart Walters, Carl Wint, Terry Smith and Canute James. When the Daily News closed, he returned to graphic design for a while before another stint in New York from 1984 to 1989, where he worked for various newspapers in editorial production.

On returning to Jamaica in 1989 he began operating his own design studio doing graphics, advertising and exhibition displays, again learning from a master in the craft, Easton Lee.

In 1993 he was called by the Observer where he worked as senior subeditor for three years after which he migrated to the United Kingdom and worked for the Financial Times for six years, and The Voice.

DeMercado also spent a year in Dubai working for a magazine company after which, he returned to London.