From the moment you drive up to the studio of ceramic artist and sculptor Gene Pearson, you are greeted by one of his many works of art: a gigantic steel gate in the shape of his iconic Nubian mask. It’s this mask, the head, that the artist has become known for internationally.
Pearson, a 1965 graduate of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, has enjoyed a successful career that has spanned nearly four decades. In those years, Pearson has managed to create a piece of art that is uniquely his own—the head, a striking figure with closed eyes and sharp features.
Pearson invited Outpostings to his home studio to explore his art making process. Tucked away above the city of Kingston, Pearson’s studio is an ode to his best work. Hundreds of his tiny clay masks gracefully decorate the walls, steps and walkways throughout the studio. Wind chimes hang from the light posts serenade guests as they marvel at the art strewn throughout the property. While he creates other pieces of ceramic art, like pots and larger sculptures, the masks are Pearson’s favorite pieces to make he says. “They get to travel around the world. I call them passports,” he jokes.
When asked when he decided to become an artist, Pearson responds “I’ve always been a revolutionary, and I decided early on in life that art would be my revolution.” It is this revolution that has brought much prestige to the artist’s’ life and work. Pearson’s work has been exhibited both locally and internationally, and in 2015 he was awarded Commander status in Jamaica’s Order of Distinction Officer Class for artists.
With no plans of retirement in sight, Pearson tells Outpostings that he enjoys making art. “I have a special light, but I don’t know if everybody sees it,” the artist says. For those who have come to love the artist and his work, we’re certain they see his light shining just as bright as they day he began his revolution.
Pearson removing a clay piece from the kiln.
The Head, Pearson’s most iconic art pieces.
To learn more about artist Gene Pearson, visit his website http://www.genepearsonstudio.com/