Ghett’a Life

Ghetta Life Poster 3

This was really fun! My first time working with the amazing artist Bruce Donaldson – we’ve since become a team and have worked on a number of projects we both really enjoy. As an artist one tends to be working alone, and I had assumed that that’s the way it is. Not lonely, but alone. This project revealed how stimulating it is to team up – it actually accentuates the creative process and gives birth to a multitude of directions, possibilities and solutions.

It came about because  a friend of ours, Chris Browne, was making this movie, Ghett’a Life, and asked us for feedback on the posters he had. I didn’t like any of them, and offered to give it a shot, ‘though I’d never done anything like this before… That’s where Bruce came in, as the film had to be watched and key scenes selected for the right shots so the characters and the essence of the movie would be portrayed in the poster. This is all in digital media, so someone with technical computer know-how was key. Then there was the subject matter of the movie; the links between the police and the criminals in downtown Kingston, which is often reported in the papers, so I went through a stack of Gleaners to select the right articles in order to collage them into the drawing of the main character.

Bruce was a patient teacher, showing me how to draw with a stylus, making magic with filters of all kinds, and creating dozens of layers in Photoshop – it was such an education to see how a graphic programme works in the hands of a master, and a wonderful opportunity to witness an idea become a professional-looking piece of work. Had it been left to me it would never have amounted to more than a few line drawings and a lot of frustration, but the combination of painter and graphics artist is a winning one, in my mind at least, and certainly romantically!!

The poster was not chosen to promote the film in the end, but it was printed on hundreds of t-shirts and distributed to the Kingston crowd on opening night, and put on the invitation to the event. It was quite the thrill to contribute to contemporary Jamaican film in our way, and maybe sometime we’l get a chance to do it again. I hear the movie is doing well internationally – watch it if you get a chance…


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