Tag Archives: painter

A Mixture of Africa and Europe

Jamaican born and USA stationed Michael Escoffery was voted one of the ‘100 Most Influential Caribbean Americans’ in 2012 , but when it comes to his art he remains humble. “It’s not good for an artist to speak too much about his work”, says Escoffery. “Let the work speak  for the artist.”

His parents introduced him to painting at a very young age, prompting Escoffery to say: “I have always been an artist, conceived by artists and born an artist”. He was formed in that typical Caribbean mixture of Africa and Europe, an influence that is still visible in his work, where he merges his cultural heritage with modern art.

Michael Escoffery’s style is not easily defined. He combines abstract-realism with expressionism, cubism and iconography. He takes his inspiration from his heritage, the Caribbean people, and from the female form. “A work of art should reveal something new to the viewer each time it is seen”, says Escoffery.

His art has been exhibited in over 200 solo exhibitions and over 300 group shows worldwide. His work has been included in over 100 books worldwide. He is considered outspoken, controversial, but sensitive to his position and responsibilities as an artist. “To be an artist demands great courage.”

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Juicy Fruit

Francisco Oller - Higueras ca 1912

Franciso Oller (1833-1917) painted fruit like no one before him. The tone, composition or even the subjects of his still lives were nothing like the the bodegones of his time. No delicacy, no austerity, no pantry items, sometimes not even a slab, in fact to the Europeans buying the paintings very little was recognizable.


By Jorge Cuartas

Francisco Oller - Still life with Coconut Puerto Rico about 1893

Oller used his whole canvas to showcase local, exotic fruit to the maximum. His coconuts look like enormous, dangerous nuts; his soursops and pineapples look like they are alive and almost ready to pop off the canvas. There may have been nothing recognizable in the painting, but they sure captured the buyer’s fancies.

Francisco Oller - Bodegon Guanabanas

Francisco Oller - Pineapples ca 1912-1914

The importance of Fancisco Oller’s still lives are twofold. First of all it shows us how buyers of paintings at the end of the Spanish era viewed the Americas: it was still an exotic and unknown territory. But more important is that with his fruit impressions Oller captured the reality of Puerto Rican life and its tropical aspects. His realism set the standard for many painters who soon followed his style.

Francisco Oller - Plátanos Amarillos 1892-93 nr 2

Paintings used in this article:

  1. ‘Higueras’ (ca 1912), Francisco Oller, oil on wood panel.
  2. Naturaleza Muerta con Cocos‘ (ca 1893, Francisco Oller, oil on canvas.
  3. ‘Bodegón con Guanábanas’ (ca 1891), Francisco Oller, oil on linen
  4. ‘Bodegón con Piñas’ (ca 1912-1914), Francisco Oller.
  5. ‘Plátanos Amarillos’ (ca 1893), Francisco Oller, oil on wood panel.
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Zoya Taylor’s ‘Sweet Infidel’ wins first prize

Zoya Taylor - The Sweet Infidel

Ten Years of Wide Eyed Emotions

‘Sweet Infidel’ by Jamaica’s Zoya Taylor was selected this week for the first prize Award at the 2015 International Juried Exhibition of The Center for Contemporary Art, New Jersey. In the painting she uses one of her wide eyed characters with skinny bodies which have become her trademark.


By Jorge Cuartas

Zoya Taylor was born in Vancouver, Canada; grew up in Kingston, Jamaica; and now lives in Norway. She is the daughter of a Jamaican father and a Canadian mother. Although she took drawing classes as a child and always had a desire to be an artist, she focused on full-time painting only ten years ago.

“I do not paint portraits but rather the odd and marginal characters which fill the spaces in between. They communicate the different facets of humanity. My cast is the cast of misfits; they are immigrants found between cultures, continents, languages and disciplines” – Zoya Taylor.

Zoya Taylor - Me and my shadow Zoya Taylor - You and me against the world

Zoya Taylor - I said no - Oil on Canvas Zola Taylor - The Reluctant Bridesmaids - Jamaica

That is why her characters have a worldly but innocent look; and that is why they are emotional. In her series, running now for ten years, Zoya Taylor’s characters have been known to feel  it all: anger, shyness, love, insecurity, everything.

Her work has been exhibited in the USA, Norway, Germany, Italy, Spain, England and Jamaica. The exhibition in New Jersey’s Center for Contemporary Art showing her ‘Sweet Infidel’ opens on November 6th 2015 and runs to December 12th 2015.

Paintings used in this article:

  1. ‘Sweet Infidel’, Zoya Taylor, oil on canvas
  2. ‘Me and my Shadow’, Zoya Taylor, oil on canvas
  3. ‘You and me against the World’, Zoya Taylor, oil on canvas
  4. ‘I said No!’, Zoya Taylor, oil on canvas
  5. ‘The reluctant Bridesmaids’, Zoya Taylor, oil on canvas
Links: Zoya Taylor Gallery | Jamaican Painters Pinterest Board  | Caribbean Painters Facebook
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Aruban painter Elvis Tromp speaks with colors #CaribbeanPainters

Haciendo Redo - Elvis Tromp

Elvis Tromp is an Aruban painter who speaks with colors. Using oil or acrylic he has painted several Aruban landscapes since he was a child, but lately he has expanded into figurative and abstract art.

Haciendo Redo’ shows three women sitting down to gossip. Set against a powerful yellow background the painting captures a very recognizable activity around the Caribbean.

Tromp, who has led the art movement on his island for decades has an active page  on Facebook, showing his latest works.

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CAZABON: TRINIDAD’S FIRST GREAT PAINTER

Nowadays he is generally regarded as one of the Caribbean’s first great painters. But in his time, Trinidad born Michel-Jean Cazabon (1813-1888) was appreciated more in Europe than in his country.  


by Jorge Cuartas


Michel-Jean Cazabon came from a rather wealthy family of free colored immigrants from Martinique, who owned a sugar plantation. At the age of 24 he was sent to Paris to study medicine, where he decided to concentrate on painting.

Cazabon started painting under Paul Delaroche, a leading painter of that time in Paris. He soon became popular as a society painter of Trinidad scenery; and of portraits of planters and merchants of Port of Spain. It is due to his paintings that we have a fair view of Trinidad’s way of life in the 19th century.

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His works include images of the Caroni river, the Port of Spain docks, sea views and other landscapes. He preferred using watercolors combining stunning pallets that remain fresh and bright to this day. Some of this most important works are part of the following collections:

  • ‘Views of Trinidad’ (18 lithographs, 1851)
  • ‘The Harris Collection’ (44 paintings, 1848-1854)
  • ‘Album of Trinidad’ (18 lithographs, 1857)

In England and France his work was much admired and he won several awards and medals at exhibitions. His first exhibition was at the Salon du Louvre in 1839, followed by expositions every year from 1843 to 1847. Back at home his art was much less appreciated. Disillusioned with life he became a drunken eccentric.

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After his death in 1888, Cazabon’s style gained more recognition in the region and his influence grew. Today he is considered to be one of the first great painters of the Caribbean. His work is appreciated for the rich details and for the use of light and shadow.

His scenes of a clean, natural and unspoiled Trinidad show a country as it was before the heavy industrialization of the twentieth century.To many Trinidadians the scenes are familiar, creating a tremendous sense of nostalgia.

Cazabon’s paintings can be seen at The Louvre in Paris and at the National Museum and Art Gallery in Trinidad.

Paintings used in this article:

1. Dry River
2. On the Caroni River
3. Maravel Valley

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