Izia Jap Lindsay is a Graffiti Artist or as Carifesta described him, an Urban Artist. His murals can be seen all over Trinidad, and in the wider region. His work is inviting, innovative and inspiring. Learn more about Jap in 20 shades.
1. How do you define creativity and what does it mean to you?
To me, creativity is the ability to see things differently and create solutions in a way that effectively stands out from others. Creativity is what gives each artist his/her own identity.
2. How much of your creative ability do you think is innate? Or is your creativity a skill that you have developed?
Being born with this talent, it is within me to create. However with age, comes experience and it is only natural that his/her personality and talents grow as well thus defining that individual. As an artist, my craft is developing on a daily basis just by living.
3. When did you realize that you wanted to express your creativity? Was it encouraged by others (e.g., parents)?
I have expressed my creativity since as childhood. Being able to artistically express myself at anytime with the support of my parents has truly developed who I am today. I am always encouraged by my peers and family who supports my artistic journey.
4. What is your standard for evaluating your own creative work and the works of other people? Do you think that monetary rewards can be compatible with creativity in general? Are monetary rewards relevant to your own work?
I am my biggest critic and I do not stop until my instinct approves it. I create how I feel and there is not any rubric that can say whether it is good or not. This self-expression comes from within and should be pleasing to me. If others can relate to it, then that is a plus. With respect to other artists, firstly I respect the effort and skill to connect their feelings to canvas. Human nature cause most people to go the distance where money is concerned and as such, monetary rewards can be compatible with creativity in general.
5. Do you think your own perception and evaluation of your creative endeavors are influenced by the views of other people? What role do you think the culture that you live in plays in your creative efforts?
Feedback is always positive and what one decides to do with that feedback is up to the artist. I take that feedback as energy and channel it into positivity, whether it is to make necessary changes or be comfortable enough to know that what I created can stand on its own. Graffiti art is not very popular locally yet it is interesting to see how gradually this art-form is being accepted. Clients now request graffiti with a local touch that represent our country and culture.
6. What do you do when you experience a creative block?
Generally I try to figure it out at once, which is not really a good thing because at times its like hitting the wall over and over with no real solution to the problem. It is always good to walk away from a project for a while. So far, playing a match of FIFA online has really been working out for me.
7. How do you make the leap from a "Spark" in your head to the action you produce?
Every time I am presented with a project I know exactly what I am going to produce for the client almost immediately. I see the vision at once and I try to do a rough sketch on paper. Most times it is stored in my head with the trust of the client knowing that I know what I am doing. All of my mural work comes straight from my head with the influence of other artists' work that inspired me. About 80% of the time I skip the sketching on paper idea and go straight to the canvas.
8. Do you have any special rituals that you do in order to achieve your creative goals?
9. Has your creativity changed stylistically as you have matured? If it has changed, please explain how.
I think as any artist, one’s style would grow with maturity. Personally I have explored quite a few artistic fields, from graphic design to painting and even acting. Being exposed to several art disciplines have helped in developing my style. Now I merge different art fields and recently a lot of my canvas work is mixed media.
10. What has been the greatest sacrifice that you have made for your craft?
I don’t know if it’s the greatest sacrifice, but I have always been deprived of sleep throughout my life. The number one reason being because of art. I work best at night and as such most times I stay up all night working on art projects or ideas that hit me. Inspiration always hits me just when I am about to sleep. Lol.
11. Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit?
Art has always been part of my life. I am fortunate enough to have a family that supports my art and as such quitting really was never a thought. The need to learn more and create keeps me going.
12. Do you believe that it is important to be accepted by others as being creative or is just doing what you love to do enough to justify your work? Explain.
The society we live in today presents itself as one where people must do certain things to be accepted. Personally I don’t think you need the approval of others for you to continue your creative journey. Art is a personal thing. Constructive criticism is good, but as an individual one must know what to give and take from outside influences.
13. Has rejection ever affected your creative process? Explain.
Rejection hurts at first, with all my ideas I put a lot of thought into them. The funny thing is that when I revisit my work, it can always be improved or have other solutions that sometimes work for the best. At times it carries my ideas even further than what was expected. I think sometimes rejection could be a good thing.
14. Looking at what you have created in the past, would you change anything today? Why or why not?
I would like to, but then why change your life story. Life is an ongoing experience and when I see my past artwork, it reminds me of who I was then and what I was experiencing at that time. If I were to change my past artwork now its like erasing part of your story which is ultimately history.
15. Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?
I am very critical of myself. I always feel that I can do better and I strive to keep doing better and improving myself. It is not really doubt, it’s just the urge to improve myself that keeps me pushing my limits.
16. What piece of work are you most proud of? Why?
I think one of my best moments in life was having the opportunity to meet the legendary graffiti artist Shepard Fairey. He was working on a mural in Miami and we spoke for quite a while. I also met other graffiti legends as well and the whole art environment was a dream for any graffiti artist. I did a piece of artwork alongside these artists at the Miami Art Basel in Wynwood.
17. Have you helped or mentored anyone else? Is there someone that you see (name drop) that you would like to Mentor?
I have worked with quite a few students at the secondary level as being the artist used in preparation for their SBA and CAPE level research. I have also helped other students at university level being the artist of choice on murals in Trinidad and Tobago. This process usually entails guidance in many ways throughout the process. Also I have done quite a few mural demonstrations for children at both secondary and tertiary level hence they were able to find their niche in art.
18. To a young Creative emerging in your field, what advice would you impart unto them?
Don’t loose sight of why you go into art. The challenges of clients' requests and rejections would be tough at times, but you are doing what you love. Once you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. Always have an open mind and be willing to learn new things. There is so much to see and experience in life. Travelling outside Trinidad and Tobago once in a while helps one to stay creative while you experience different cultures and environments. Always stay humble, stay happy =)
19. What would you most like to be remembered for?
20. If you were a crayon, what would be the name of your colour?