How Did This Jamaican Accountant Achieve A Thriving Art Career in America?

Seven years ago, the talented Jamaican-born artist, Gavin Jordan, was deeply entrenched in the corporate world, thriving as a certified public accountant. Despite a fondness for art, particularly sketching during his high school years, Gavin never took it up seriously, mainly due to a lack of exposure to the professional art scene and fellow artists. He chose the conventional and secure path, studying accounting and economics. He further earned a master’s degree in financial management and became a certified public accountant (CPA). While Gavin has gained relative success in the corporate role during his career, he always felt something was missing.

Today, Gavin is an active member of the Black Artists and Designers Guild and the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County. He wholeheartedly embraced the world of art, drawing inspiration from the splendors of nature, the kaleidoscope of human emotions, and the nuanced intricacies of everyday existence. His artistic focus often revolves around the human form, brought to vivid three-dimensional life through his creative use of industrial screws.

We had a brief conversation with Gavin Jordan about his artistic journey.

It’s clear your art is all about uncovering beauty in everyday moments. Could you share a specific memory or experience that really sparked this mission for you?

My mission to uncover the beauty in everyday moments was profoundly inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s enlightening talk on ‘The Dangers of a Single Story.’ Growing up, I found myself immersed in a diverse and dynamic environment. Yet, it was disheartening to witness how often the richness and complexity of the human experience could be distilled into a singular, stereotypical narrative. Adichie’s words struck a chord in me as she articulated the peril of reducing individuals, communities, and cultures to a single, often oversimplified, narrative.

I realized that art could be a powerful medium to challenge these preconceived notions and expose the true depth of our shared humanity. It sparked a deep desire to explore and depict the often overlooked aspects of life, those ordinary yet profound moments that, when given proper attention, reveal extraordinary stories. Much like Adichie’s call to embrace multiple narratives, my art aims to peel back the layers of preconception, inviting viewers to see the beauty and complexity in everyday existence. It’s a continuous mission to dismantle the limitations of the single story through the brushstrokes and colors of my art.

The use of industrial screws in your art is such a unique touch. What inspired you to bring this three-dimensional aspect into your work?

The fusion of industrial screws into my art finds its roots in a captivating duality between my professional training and my creative aspirations. I bring a unique blend of skills and sensibilities to my work. As a trained accountant and a certified CPA, I’ve long been accustomed to thinking in linear, analytical terms. However, my innate creativity yearned for expression in more imaginative, non-linear dimensions.

This intriguing marriage of my structured, methodical mindset with my unbridled creative spirit forms the foundation of my artistic approach. The incorporation of industrial screws is a reflection of this intricate interplay. It symbolizes the convergence of my rational, calculated side with my vivid, imaginative essence.

My admiration for art that transcends traditional boundaries propelled me to create works that resonate on multiple sensory and visual levels. I was driven to craft artwork that not only entices the eyes and senses but also beckons touch, inviting viewers to explore depth in a tangible way. By introducing industrial screws into my pieces, I successfully bridge the chasm between two and three dimensions, inviting viewers to journey through art that’s both visually and sensorially compelling. This tactile dimension, manifested through screws and textures, adds layers of engagement and narrative to my creations.

Switching gears from a successful corporate path to a full-time artist must have been quite a journey. Can you tell us about that “aha” moment that made you want to dive headfirst into your passion for art?

Certainly, this journey is powered by that relentless urge to continuously create and explore. As I maintain a delicate balance between my corporate career and my artistic endeavors, it’s this “aha” moment that keeps me moving forward. The act of transforming my thoughts, emotions, and experiences into art isn’t just a casual pastime; it’s intrinsically woven into my very existence.

I’m well aware that achieving a seamless coexistence between my corporate career and my creative pursuits is an ongoing endeavor. Nevertheless, each brushstroke, every artwork, and every moment of exploration bring me closer to a future where artistic expression could take the forefront. The transition is a work in progress, and it’s fueled by an insatiable drive to continue on this remarkable path.

Your process of capturing everyday scenes and memories and transforming them into these vibrant artworks is fascinating. Can you walk us through how that transformation happens?

It starts with my keen observation of the world around me. I immerse myself in the details, colors, and emotions of the moment. This initial stage is where I capture the essence of what I want to convey in my art.

Next comes the process of internalization. I reflect on the emotional resonance of the scene or memory, considering the feelings it evokes within me. This introspective phase is where I dive deep into the heart of the moment and try to understand what makes it special.

With the essence of the experience clarified in my mind, I begin to translate it onto the canvas. This is the moment of artistic expression, where I choose the colors and composition that will best convey the emotions and memories I’m trying to capture. I will often do a mini painting of the piece I am working on to test my color choices and composition. My creative process often combines modern impressionism, pointillism, and perceptual art to create a rich tapestry of visual storytelling.

The final result is a vibrant artwork that serves as a visual manifestation of my interpretation of the everyday scene or memory and a representation of the emotions it evoked within me.

Tell us more about your association with the Black Artists and Designers Guild and the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County.

The organizations provide me with a vibrant community of like-minded creatives. This community aspect is invaluable. It’s a place for shared inspiration, mutual support, and an exchange of diverse perspectives.

The dialogues and collaborations that emerge from these connections have profound implications for my art. They encourage me to delve into cultural and social themes with greater depth and authenticity. As an artist, I see my work not only as a form of personal expression but as a means to engage with broader societal issues. These affiliations facilitate this connection with my audience, helping me reach individuals who resonate with my art’s themes and messages. In essence, they’re an integral part of my creative journey, enriching my work with new dimensions and influences.

And what’s the big vision behind 24 Marie Fine Art Gallery? 

The big vision behind 24 Marie Fine Art Gallery centers around championing Black contemporary art and providing much-needed exposure for Black artists. Our mission is to create a dynamic and inclusive space where art serves as a catalyst for dialogue, cultural enrichment, and community engagement. We aim to serve as a bridge between emerging and established Black artists, connecting them with diverse audiences while fostering an environment of collaboration and learning.

In terms of its impact on the local arts scene, 24 Marie Fine Art Gallery aspires to be a transformative force. By focusing on Black contemporary art and underrepresented voices, we aim to enrich the local artistic landscape with diverse perspectives. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion reflects in our exhibitions and programs, creating a vibrant, informed, and reflective local art community. We believe that art has the power to inspire, educate, and bridge cultural gaps, and our gallery strives to be a driving force in promoting positive change in the local arts scene with a specific emphasis on Black contemporary art.

Exhibiting in notable venues and events must have its share of memorable moments. Is there one event or exhibition that stands out as a game-changer in your career?

Absolutely, one of the most remarkable milestones in my artistic journey was my very first solo show, “Moments in Time.” This event marked a turning point in my career, and its significance cannot be overstated.

With “Moments in Time,” I had the opportunity to curate and present a body of work that encapsulated my artistic evolution. The show was not just a display of art but a narrative, a story told through each piece, capturing various facets of life and the human experience. It allowed me to express my innermost thoughts, emotions, and observations, all through the canvas.

What made this event a game-changer was the realization that my art could communicate with people on a profound level. It was incredibly gratifying to witness the impact of my work on the audience—how they connected with the stories I was telling, the moments I was freezing in time, and the emotions I was conveying. “Moments in Time” solidified my belief in the power of art as a universal language,

It wasn’t just a solo show; it was a testament to my creative journey and a powerful stepping stone toward a future where my art could reach and touch the hearts of a broader audience, which remains one of my core aspirations as an artist.

Aside from your art, you also enjoy listening to books on Audible. Which book are you reading now?

At the moment, I’m fully engrossed in two captivating books. “Oversubscribed” by Daniel Priestley provides a unique perspective on marketing and business growth, offering valuable insights into creating high demand for products and services.

Simultaneously, I’m exploring “Turning Pro” by Steven Pressfield. This book delves into the transformational journey of an artist or creative as they evolve from amateur to professional status. It touches on the concept of overcoming resistance, a notion that resonates deeply with my artistic endeavors.

Both of these books are enriching my understanding of marketing, personal growth, and the artist’s mindset, offering fresh perspectives that continue to inspire my journey.

For those just discovering your work, what’s a piece of advice or insight you’d offer to help them really connect with the depth and emotion in your art?

For those who are just beginning to explore my work, I’d offer this piece of advice: take your time. My art is a journey through emotions, stories, and depth, much of which may not be immediately apparent at first glance. I encourage you to engage with each piece, to let your eyes wander and your thoughts wander further. Find the stories between the brushstrokes, the emotions beneath the colors, and the depth within the details. My art is an invitation to explore, to connect on a personal level, and to discover the unique narratives within each piece. Embrace the journey, and you’ll uncover the profound beauty and meaning in my creations.

Anything exciting in the pipeline? Any upcoming projects or themes that have you really pumped?

“Hoping for Today’s Tomorrow” is a theme that resonates deeply with the spirit of our time. It’s a reflection on the experiences of those who have left their homelands, often seeking a better future, and the complex tapestry of emotions and aspirations that come with such journeys. This theme embodies the hopes, dreams, and resilience of individuals who have migrated to new horizons, driven by the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

I’m excited to present this theme at Spectrum Miami Art Fair, where I believe it will engage viewers in thoughtful reflection and encourage conversations about the human connection and the common aspirations that bind us all. This exhibition is an opportunity to not only appreciate the art but also to consider the broader social and cultural implications of migration and the idea that, collectively, we are all hoping for a brighter “tomorrow.”

View Gavin Jordan captivating artworks on his website.

You can also follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Photo – Gavin Jordan

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