As a writer and photographer I travel between my life in Toronto, my life in Antigua, and anywhere else my wanderings may take me ... writing my books and enjoying local arts and adventures along the way.

Recalling My Interview with Antiguan Artist Mark Brown

Painting by Mark Brown

Picture 1 of 2

Painting by Mark Brown

During the course of writing my upcoming book “Amongst Artists in Antigua” I’ve had the privilege of interviewing Mark Brown and other local Antiguan painters, writers, sculptors, and other artists. These interviews were essential in order to tell each artist’s story and in order to tell the story of art in Antigua. I was prepared to find the interviews interesting as I’ve always had a fascination with people who “follow their own star” in pursuit of their passions. But I wasn’t prepared for the interviews to be so deeply moving for both myself and for artists I interviewed.

It was during my interview with Mark Brown that I first recognized the source of this emotion. This book’s hugely ambitious undertaking … attempting to capture the artistic statement made by each artist over their entire life up to that point … was also incredibly personal for the artist. The interviews in a sense consisted of them taking stock of their whole lives as artists and reflecting on what had been particularly moving and meaningful. The questions I asked them were often met with searing honesty that helped me discover insight in the common threads between their stories.

All of the interviews for this reason were moving, but my interview with Mark Brown stands out in my mind because of the particular insight I gained during it. The stakes for me in writing the book were high. I aimed to communicate a deeply true perspective of Antiguan art and artists. As with any other artist creating an artistic work, the only crime that I as a writer could commit in my book was in perjuring the truth. I knew the penalty for committing crime would be a book that simply wouldn’t connect with the reader and that would be a financial disaster.

But for the artists I interviewed the stakes were even higher. This book is not an artistic work that they are creating … it is the meat and gristle of their entire lives. In my interview with Mark Brown he was disarmingly candid in sharing his struggles with his faith and in sharing his struggles to free his creativity from the constraints that conservative Antiguan society had placed in his mind. I understood and saw firsthand how speaking the truth might leave each artist feeling exposed and vulnerable to public opinion. But reflecting on how important it is for an artist to share through their work the personal truths that have been revealed to them I also came to recognize how important  it is to leave that truth behind as one’s own personal legacy. Because if you don’t leave behind the truth … you don’t leave any trace you were ever here.

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One comment on “Recalling My Interview with Antiguan Artist Mark Brown

  1. Howard Berman on said:

    I really like this blog. Please continue the great work. Regards!!!


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