Feature
Artist, Lennox Coke, beams with pride while surrounded by several pieces of his art work, which were on display at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) Small Business Expo 2019, held at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in New Kingston, recently.
Photo: Adrian Walker

Story Highlights

  • Local artist, Lennox Coke, strongly believes that Jamaica, with its rich pool of creative talent, can further strengthen its stake in the billion dollar global art industry, given the allure of top quality Brand Jamaica products.
  • “Jamaican art can also bring in money to the country, just like Jamaican music and Jamaican sport, because we have an authentic brand and people (are always) looking out for things (with a Jamaican label),” Mr. Coke says, in a recent interview with JIS News.
  • According to statistics in the publication, ‘The Art Market 2019’, the global art market is valued at $67.4 billion in 2018.

Local artist, Lennox Coke, strongly believes that Jamaica, with its rich pool of creative talent, can further strengthen its stake in the billion dollar global art industry, given the allure of top quality Brand Jamaica products.

“Jamaican art can also bring in money to the country, just like Jamaican music and Jamaican sport, because we have an authentic brand and people (are always) looking out for things (with a Jamaican label),” Mr. Coke says, in a recent interview with JIS News.

According to statistics in the publication, ‘The Art Market 2019’, the global art market is valued at $67.4 billion in 2018.

This figure is no surprise to Mr. Coke, who has long recognised art as a lucrative career path, and as masterfully as he glides the paint brush across canvas, has smartly carved out a niche for himself in the international arena.

The accomplished fine art artist has had the privilege of his impressive body of work gaining recognition beyond Jamaica’s shores, having appeared in shows in Washington in the United States of America and Toronto, in Canada, as well as several Caribbean islands.

Artist, Lennox Coke, poses with his art pieces, which were on display at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation’s (JBDC) Small Business Expo 2019, held at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, in New Kingston, recently.

 

Mr. Coke has maintained his passion for his craft for the past 17 years, producing top quality pieces, which are now sought after by collectors. His pieces, which mainly portray the social and cultural aspects of the Jamaican society, now adorn the walls of many local gift shops, banks, doctor and insurance offices.

Some of his major works can also be found in major galleries in Kingston and Montego Bay, as well as the Bank of Jamaica and Digicel collections, and that of prominent local families.

Interestingly, Mr. Coke shares that what was initially a hobby in his youth, while growing up in the countryside in St. Elizabeth, has now evolved into a full-fledged successful business.

“The gift was there very early. I was always able to draw and create things…but I never looked at it as a career path,” he says, noting that it was after attending the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts that he started “to gather more interest in the field of art.”

“From there, I basically enhanced my abilities and I realised that it can be a viable business,” the accomplished artist says, whose body of works include wall paintings, murals, reprints, billboards and labels.

Of major significance to Mr. Coke, is having his work on display at local hotels where they can attract the eyes of visitors to the island.

“I am always looking to have my paintings or reproduction in some of the hotels, because I think that is a viable ground. Hotel rooms continue to be built in Jamaica and my fine art is one of the ways where the guests can have a full experience of Jamaica, because fine art speaks so much about the social culture of the people,” he tells JIS News.

Mr. Coke, who is now in his mid-40s, has been commissioned to do significant pieces, including the art work on the 2017 Yellow Pages phone book cover, and the mural at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

His work has also been featured at national exhibitions, including the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) exhibition for which he has copped several medals, including one gold, two silver and five bronze, and five merit awards. He regularly participates in several annual shows, including the Caribbean Gift and Craft, Liguanea Lodge Auction, Mandeville Art Fair and Liguanea Art Festival.

Mr. Coke credits much of his success to the exposure he has gained through the intervention of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), which he says is an excellent development vehicle for small businesses.

“They have different programmes that help with business development and from time to time, they also have different training that individual and team members can go and get additional training and information,” he says, while praising the organisation for its consistent support.

Mr. Coke tells JIS News that he has benefitted from the JBDC’s business exposition as well as its Christmas in July event, which aid in promoting the products of small businesses.

“These are very good platforms on which the artisan can meet directly with potential clients and potential buyers,” he says.

“This also helped me to continue to be more organised, because when you do expos like these, you can see things that individually or from your business perspective you can do to (better market your product). You will get queries from time to time at these events and it helps you to (improve on your craft and approach),” he says, noting that he has received orders over the years after participating in these events.

Mr. Coke was also commissioned to do the cover image for the book: ‘The Embodiment of Disobedience: Fat Black Women’s Unruly Political Bodies’, by Assistant Professor of English at Nova Southeastern University, Andrea Elizabeth Shaw, which was published in 2006.

The artist can be reached on social media platforms – Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. His handle is: @lennoxcokeart.