Taj Francis is a Jamaican born artist, designer and all around creative. I became familiar with his work after coming across his images on my tumblr dashboard. There's no doubt that he is inspired by his Jamaican roots. From the colors to the strokes in his sketches to the incredible detail in the locs of his drawing, he brings together his own unique style with his culture. In addition to his incredible drawings, Taj collaboration project "TENFOLD Opus" brings his drawings to life with the help of producers and musicians through this Audio-Visual EP.
I was so excited to connect with Taj and have the opportunity to ask him a few questions regarding his art. Here's what he had to say.
Bilphena: How are you influenced by your Jamaican roots? How does this influence show in your work?
Taj Francis: I can't escape the influence of Jamaica in my work. Whether it be colours or just the natural environment, it shows in up in some subtle ways. I've recently been more conscious of letting it show in my work.
Bilphena: What is your mental process when creating? Do you sit and think about what you want to create or does it just come to you? Are you listening to music during the process or do you prefer the quiet? Is there a certain space you go to when creating?
Taj: My process when creating varies, and it depends on what I'm doing and where I am mentally. Sometimes ideas will just come to me, or I will have them in the back of my mind until I'm ready to execute it. Or I will sit and hash out the idea, pen to paper, sketching, doing research, the whole works. Other times I just start creating and let it flow and evolve right in front of my eyes, much to my surprise at times. There are times when I just feel like God's vessel, to channel creating these images, as long as I rid myself of any selfish ideals when I'm creating.
Bilphena: What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an artist and how did you overcome it or how are you overcoming if it is a current challenge?
Taj: I've faced, and face many challenges. One that I faced was coming up with a definitive style of my own. I still don't think I'm fully there, but I feel I've come along way. It was a little difficult, but I just tried to stay to as true to myself as possible, and take charge of the kind of aesthetic I would want to see. There is so much out there, and the biggest challenge is to standout. Which leads me to the challenge I still face. The art world is very over saturated, this isn't bad really, but it's makes it difficult to be seen, so I've been trying to make my own lane, instead of moving with the crowd. Also, more importantly, their is not as much representation of black artist and black art in the larger art world, which is something I want to change in anyway I can, by just doing my part. Representation is important.