I am Muhammad and this is my story about how and why I got involved in creating artworks from a variety of everyday items. I hope this information will inspire you to develop the artistic view in your life. The following are various samples of my artworks spanning quite a few years till 2017. Some of these artworks have long since been given to friends and family members while the wall mural (my first) was callously destroyed by a previous employer, since he had no say in its creation. During my productive years, I experimented joyfully with a multitude of art media, all the while pushing my creativity to produce artwork as realistic as possible. That drive was my reason for engaging in paper sculpture. While employed as an art instructor at a now defunct institution, I saw a Nigerian instructor showing his class to make items from reconstituted newspaper. The possibilities consumed me and I asked to be taught how to make this new medium. I learned the technique in about an hour and have not stopped using it yet.
THE EARLY YEARS
As I mentioned previously, I was born in Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean; What I did not mention is that my first attempts at art were done with colored pebbles from a nearby stream because I was too poor to buy watercolor paints at the time. I had 6 brothers (one now deceased RIP) and 4 sisters so making demands for water-color paints was out of the question. My deceased parents (MAY THEY REST IN PEACE) had to raise a family of 10 on a carpenter’s pay. But my love for art never subsided and smoldered until my employed life to be fulfilled. I first realized that I might be onto something when I first left home and moved to a little town with a nightclub. One of the owners saw my artwork and suggested I put them up in the club for sale. I agreed and became recognized as the neighborhood artist. I did make a few sales before leaving the area. One of my committed customers swore me to guarantee him first dibs of whatever art I had to sell. I agreed to take my art to his place of business. This arrangement lasted until his death a year later. During this time, he never refused to purchase any of my paintings, and these were simply water-colors on art paper.
ISLAND HOPPING AND ITS EFFECT ON MY ART
As I grew older, I engaged in island hopping around the Caribbean and that expanded my love for art even more. Once, I had the opportunity to visit Guyana and saw the creativity of the people there. I witnessed a gentleman create a functioning xylophone out of wooden pieces. Even more magically, he created a lighted carving of the Map of Africa with wood and aluminum and I was hooked on sculpture forever. From the roadside craftsmen, I learned how to create copper and bead jewelry and how to make other knickknacks from various materials. Subsequent trips to other island expanded my knowledge even further. With my frequent exposure to myriad forms of artistic media and the unique uses they were put to, I developed a unique type of artwork which continues to this day. Not bad for a poor little boy who couldn’t afford a pan of water colors, eh?
ADVENTURES WITH AIRBRUSH
My adventures with the airbrush opened a whole new vista for me. I do not recall when I first acquired an airbrush, but I still recall its model; a Badger, the cheapest I could afford at the time. I went artistically berserk! My first customer wanted me to paint wall murals for his whole house! Unfortunately, the job fell through because of his sudden illness. But that was only a minor setback in my artistic journey. I had observed the diverse capability of the airbrush and I set about to push it to the limit. I dare say that the things I have done with airbrushes might be considered criminal by manufacturers. Nevertheless my journey with airbrushes has been quite satisfying, though I still feel that there is more to be accomplished. In the near future, given the time and opportunity, I shall seek to restart my adventures. Along the way, I have been able to transfer this feeling to many others in their trysts with art.
THE LATER YEARS
In my waning years of art creating in North Carolina, USA, I worked as an instructor for physically-challenged adults. I got the chance to give the clients an artistic view of seemingly everyday things. I made artworks out of simple plastic bottles filled with sand. We spent hours Knocking down these bottles in improvised games of bowling, especially since these bottles were decorated as various cartoon animals. Later on, in Maryland at another institution, I unleashed the pent-up artistic monster in other physically-challenged adults who had been laboring under the impression that they were too limited by their physical challenges to attempt to paint. I must confess that these were some of my most fulfilling years. To see an incapacitated person being able to express themselves artistically is so liberating and satisfying! It was during these years I also experienced my own greatest artistic growth. The ideas flowed fast and free. My experimental artwork knew no bounds. I felt like I could do no wrong as an artist. Alas! All things must and will come to an end. Following a serious illness in September 2015, I finally resigned from the daily grind of earning a wage. At present, I am recovering quite well from my illness and hope to soon rekindle my journey to share the artistic view with the world.