Serge Gay Jr. is a modern-day Renaissance man. A Grammy-nominated creative director, he also works as an art director, painter, illustrator, and graphic designer. And according to him, versatility is key to being creative. “I think artists should be more versatile, should be entrepreneurs, having more than one style, mostly with illustration, and making it into a business,” he stated in an interview with African Digital Art.
Born in Haiti and based out of San Francisco, California, his art is a reflection of the different environments he has lived in: starting from the culture and sociology of his homeland of Haiti, and moving to New York, Miami, Detroit, and San Francisco.
“I got interested in art as a child growing up in Miami,” he said. “There was art everywhere you looked at my parents’ place,” he added. His father, an artist himself, would make and sell clay pottery and sculptures in Haiti., and Gay Jr. admits he knew from an early age he, too, will be an artist. “There were doubts at times, but it was my parents who told me to go for it and should try to make a living doing it,” he says.
His artwork includes striking portraits of African men and women, exploring the many ways in which our environments shape our identity. “I always have ideas, so planning to execute that idea takes work, from taking tons of photos, or searching for images, color, size etc, to make my imagination come to life,” he says. After “lots-and-lots-and-lots of planning and researching,” the painting itself is a sort of an afterthought.
Take a look at some of his striking artwork: