Laura-Anne Fung Jamaican Art Prodigy Image

by Tanaka Roberts

It isn't often that you come across an artist who can brag that she has hosted her very own solo art exhibition, especially one who is just 19 years old. Laura-Anne Fung has risen above and beyond expectations as she marvels those who bear witness to her craft, which is purely self-taught.

Having received a slew of awards, including the Prime Minister's Youth Award for Arts, Laura-Anne is surely on the rise as her talent is becoming more recognized. We recently had a chat with the artist. Here's what she shared with us:

What does the art of painting mean to you?
Well obviously first and foremost, painting is what I thrive on more than any other form or medium of art that there is. Painting is the epitome of my career and livelihood and therefore, it acts as the most integral facet within art to me.

What do you think visual arts contribute to the world?
I feel as though visual arts enable and aid many different things in our world today. Principally, visual arts assist in purporting a myriad of different perspectives, ideas, and behaviours for example, along with many other aspects. Therefore, with an item such as a painting or a photograph, the artist is able to portray their thought or idea without the use of words and give the audience a deeper look into their work, allowing them to absorb what is presented directly in front of them, but also taking in so much more from the deeper meanings of the work.

When did you realize that your talent was beyond a hobby?
There was not any moment in particular that so much caused me to realize that art would become so much more than a hobby to me. It has just always been something I have done since I was in elementary school and I have just continued doing it because I highly enjoyed it and still do. If anything, my entire work has just somewhat developed as I have gotten older and that has led me to be where I am now.

Are there artists that you aspire to walk in their footsteps or in a similar direction?
Not particularly, I have not found one person that I would completely aspire to be.

How would you describe your work?
The top words that come to mind are: funky, abstract, vibrant, lively - I really enjoy combining a lot of bold colors and creating a piece of work out of that.

What challenges have you faced not only as a young artist but as a Jamaican trying to make grounds internationally?
Well you know I think it somewhat goes without saying that setting your footing and even more so making a great impact in any particular trade that you practice when you are from and live in a small country such as Jamaica, … you are of sorts isolated from the bigger picture of things, which therefore makes it so much more difficult to establish yourself in the world in whatever you do as an artist.

At 19, you have already successfully hosted a solo exhibition. How does that make you feel to have accomplished such a major feat in your career?
It gives me great pride to know that at my age, I already have my "foot-in-the-door", so to speak. It is really comforting to know that my career is gradually pro-gressing in a way that I would like to see it go and a direction that I want it to grow in. I can only hope that things continue to improve.

As a young artist what message do you hope to send to others who are looking at your success as a guide for their own careers?
I think that one thing I would definitey try to instill in other young artists, whether they are practicing painting, photography, fashion or any other form of art, is that you should just follow what you believe is your style and not to worry as to whether it isn't "normal" enough to be appreciated. I feel that you will find that the quirier your work and the more it comes from how you really feel as an artist, is the more original that it really is and it's important for you to follow what you really feel as an artist. 

How does music inspire your work? 
Well I do listen to music whilst I paint from different genres such as classic, rock, pop and dancehall. However, music itself does not influence what I have in mind to paint. The paintings that I have done of Lady GaGa and Bob Marley and Michael Jackson were inspired more from the character of the artistes themselves because they are such influential symbols in the industry, but not … from any particular song or genre.

What is the next step?
The next step would be to further my education on the various media related to art as I pursue my BFA in the next four years.
Image To contort oneself into the prescribed of mediocre minds - contradicts character.
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