Trinidadian artist, Alicia Aberdeen

For as long as I’ve known myself I’ve been drawing. Growing up in Trinidad with 4 brothers and a little sister, and two parents that were revolutionaries in their own right, creativity in it's various forms was a staple in our everyday living. My mother and her mother played the piano. So did I. My father played the guitar. My sister plays the bass. My uncles played in bands locally and around the world. My second eldest brother Dexter sang and there was always a party at the family home. There was a lot of entertaining. My parents were quite the socialites, whether or not they realized it. There was always a lot to take in, to observe if u knew how, and to reproduce in your own language. I say that now because I know that now. But back then it was never even a thought, we just always drew!

I am the first girl of six children born to Mr and Mrs Kingsley Aberdeen in the early 1970s. My brothers requested me specifically and my parents produced. My eldest brother David named my sister, Vanessa and me. Those 4 boys practically raised us. No one could come near us—unless they liked you, of course.

I spent a lot of time with the twins, Sean and Sheldon. They were the last of the boys and six years my senior. I followed them around almost everywhere (that didn’t get my nails dirty — yes I was ‘that child’ from day one!). They were always drawing. Sean loved love stories and Sheldon loved war stories and super heroes. I naturally gravitated to the love stories. They were always filled with really pretty people and lovely backgrounds and always passion-filled storylines. Yep, Sean was it! I did everything he did; at least I tried.

All throughout my early childhood years I watched and copied. My eyes were always wide and ready to take in their (the boys) artistic moves and ready to try them all!

Then Cinderella came to Trinidad on the big screen... it - was - over!! Mine eyes had seen the light! How in the world did they get cartoons to look and move like that?!! Back then, in the 70s in Trinidad we had the local television station and got cartoons like Fat Albert and Scooby-Doo on Saturday mornings. So Dysney’s Cinderella was a big deal! It showed at The Roxi cinema in St James. I would forever be enthralled by everything “Art” and creativity thereafter.

Fast forward many many many many years later to my 40s, and I’m back in school finally studying art. Of course it was unheard of in my household growing up, academia being the preferred course of action... even with no real guidance or support either way! Only to now be able to link my earliest fascinations to names in the business like Tex Avery, Ub Iwerks, and ... I was finally arriving!

Now, not only am I able to paint and draw and “professionally” produce beautiful pieces inspired by the many influencers in my life (like all things nature; eyes; texture; movement in people; dreams I have, usually recurring ones; etc) but I am now also able to merge those traditional fine art attributes with digital and technical abilities. I - LOVE - IT!! If only Sean were here to see/live this!

I’m enjoying being the creative person I know I was always meant to be, even at this later stage in life. In fact, the experiences that I can pull on now really feed my passions and curiosity but I proceed with an ‘informed’ caution or aggression depending on the situation. I think that has its pros and cons but I make it work!

One thing I look forward to with earnest longing is being able to visit my home country Trinidad and Tobago, and return with my own paintings of the pitch lake houses in San Fernando (if they still exist); the lush green rainforest of the northern range; the Caroni habitat; the doubles man; the pan pushers; the St James homeless; the Argyle Falls in Tobago...

And it will happen because I’ve made that affirmation.

My journey to me, the Artist has been an unconventional one. I din’t follow the usual rules of engagement. I didn’t go through the usual educational channels. But in so doing I’ve been able to see some realities that have made me very conscious and aware of the need for Caribbean people to band together to help their representatives. There are many artists across genres living and thriving in our diasporas in the US (and worldwide) who need support; who should be recognized. I believe I must play my part and pursue avenues and opportunities for furtherance of our creative plights as a people.

Life has taken a whole lot away. But to say it hasn’t also been abundant would be untrue. A more naive me used to say that failure is not an option—so inaccurate. It’s actually one of life’s best teachers, IF you let it be! I’ve learnt to stay on the positive side of the negatives; to be steadfast in my vision and beliefs; and to be as humble as possible along the way, especially when success comes a knocking!!

                                                          To laugh in the face of adversity
                             To BE the train wreck and emerge from the rubble with a dazzling glow!
                                                        To DARE to DO YOU and do it WELL
                               To BE that light that causes the sparkle in the eyes of your offspring!!

                                                               THAT makes it all worth it❣️

Stay Positive

Stay the Course, and

Stay Grounded! 

faith and humility are key..

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