Taj Francis is a young and upcoming designer from Jamaica. Recently, he was awarded 5th place in the First International Reggae Poster Contest 2012 (RPC) for his wonderful poster “The Upsetter, Lee Scratch Perry”. We have the honor to host him at graphicart-news, to share with us his experience about the contest and show us some of his distinguished works from his portfolio.
Taj Francis is a 22-year-old graduate from The Edna Manley College’s School of Visual Arts, with a major in Illustration. He is a resident of the island of Jamaica, and has been doing art for as long as he can remember. The media used for his artworks are the usual pen and ink as well as brush and ink and spray paint. A major medium for his more popular works is digital illustrations and paintings. He has been featured on several websites and is currently working on a clothing line where he also dose custom artwork on sneakers. His artwork inspired by music and a passion for what he does makes enables him continue to grow in his skill.
Tell us how you found out about the Reggae Poster Contest (RPC) and what is your impression?
I found out about the contest through ARC magazines website. I love how well organized and structured it was. It felt like something you just wanted to be apart of regardless of winning or losing.
What’s it like seeing your work selected in the RPC top five best Reggae posters?
Completely surprised, very unexpected. Considering it was an international competition of more than a thousand entries.
When did you become attracted to Reggae music?
Since childhood, I grew up on it. I am, though, now more interested in it than I have ever been.
How would you summarize your experience with the First International Reggae Poster Contest? Did it live up to your expectations?
Yeah it was great. As I said, really well put together, and as a Jamaican, it really showed me just how widespread reggae music is, and how much people all over the world love it. It was a good experience, and with the results, the suspense was killing me.
Describe your design philosophy and the meaning behind your winning poster?
Design, or whatever it is that you do, for something you can be proud of. If you’re going to be ashamed about it, or feel morally conflicted about it, then don’t do it. Design can change the world, we see how it does negatively through campaigns for things that aren’t even beneficial, or are just negative to society. In that same way we can do good with design.
As you can see, my poster is inspired by the legendary Lee Scratch Perry. His method of working and his fearless approach to creating things he love is inspiring to me. He is such a character and a creative mind.
What are your thoughts regarding our objective to have the Reggae Hall of Fame museum built in Kingston, Jamaica?
Sounds like a great idea. Can’t wait to see something like that come to being. It is so important that we recognize and honor those who have been such pioneers and movement makers within the Reggae and Music world.
Will you participate, next year, in the Reggae Poster Contest 2013?
I hope to. Looking forward to it being bigger and better!
Your signature style is impressive, do you work in the field of graphic design or as an illustrator? Also, do you do freelance work or do you work full time in a design studio in Jamaica?
I work as an illustrator and a graphic designer, although with more emphasis on illustration. Currently, I’m a freelancer but hope to build my own studio or collective of designers and artists.
Enjoy below some distinguished works from Taj’s portfolio
Initially designed as a technical experiment to see how he could cut and deconstruct a figure through illustration, and they became its own entity. END is not an acronym, it is literally speaking of the end. More specifically, the end of an era, the end of a civilization, a system. He used the Roman structure as an example. Kingdoms will fall, their world, kings and gods crumble.
The Creation Room
Based on Little Weapon, by Lupe Fiasco
Artwork based on the song “Rasta Love” by Protoje
The Revolution Won’t be Televised