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‘Life on my island’

  • Four of Attila Feszt’s screen printing designs. From left: “Life on my island”, “King of the jungle”, “Free spirit” and “Ocean moons”. COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

  • Doongalik owner Pam Burnside, Artist Attila Feszt and photographer Scharad Lightbourne.

  • Feszt’s patterns on display at Doongalik Studios. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

Guardian Arts&Culture

Published: Jun 15, 2013

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Fash|Art 2012 visual art award winner Attila Feszt opened “Life on my island”, original patterns and paintings inspired by life in the islands, to warm reviews in an intimate showing Thursday evening at Doongalik Studios Art Gallery on Village Road.

Though he has been an avid illustrator all his life, Feszt just recently – within the last six years – got back into his art work, which includes various forms of media, including pen and ink illustration, painting, screen printing and graphic design work. He also is a huge fan of comic book art, which marries well with his passion for pattern designs.

Feszt, who has a Bachelor of Arts in History of Art and Design from Manchester Metropolitan University, said he was tentative for a while before taking the plunge into showing his artwork.

“In a way, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to show,” Feszt told Guardian Arts&Culture. “So starting, doing the patterns and working with paintings inspired by that, I started to figure it out a little bit more [and realized that] the meaning will come. The main thing is to just do it.

“Actually, I remember a few years ago talking to A.J. Watson (I spoke to him when I first started doing my printed stuff and had very much liked that graffiti stencil art style)… He said, ‘Mate you just gotta do it. You just have to get it out there and do it’.

“For me, being a part of things and getting the exposure and being able to talk to people and knowing that people like what you're doing is a huge motivator and also winning this award and having this show was huge.

“It was pivotal for me, [and] some of the worry of whether people like it, it kind of stopped because I realized what I'm doing people like and people see something in it. So at that point, it's just about doing it without any of the questioning. You have the freedom to just do what you've been doing all along and to just focus on that without wondering what's gonna happen.”

The name of the exhibition, “Life on my island”, is also the name of his first pattern design, which features a manta ray and shells. Since that design, he has created a cohesive collection of artwork, as well as business cards and a website, which all incorporate his screen printing designs.

Feszt, who works as a designer at a screen printing company in Hope Town, Abaco, won the Fash|Art 2012 Jackson Burnside III Visual Artist Award in November.

“It’s actually a big thing as well, having an award named after Jackson Burnside. So that was very special,” Feszt says.

“[The show is] getting me thinking about other work I want to do. It's getting me thinking about what I'm trying to do with it, and I want it to lead me to other places, other styles of art or design or using other media.

“And for me it's not just about doing the work and becoming a success. I mean that would be nice, or will be nice, but it's about using it as a vehicle to explore new things and refine what I'm doing, the type of work I'm doing and get better at what I'm doing and that's what it's all about.”

He is also looking forward to participating in more events in New Providence and is planning to come out with a line of clothing and bags with his screen prints on them, using his Maeter Design brand.

Doongalik Studios owner and Jackson’s widow Pam Burnside expressed how important the studio’s link with Fash|Art has been and the impact the visual arts award has had on the late artist’s legacy.

“Being involved with Fash|Art is good because it's another way of extending Jackson's legacy through this award,” Burnside told Guardian Arts&Culture.

“Jackson was very conscious of the next generation. He was always teaching, and he always wanted to be able to encourage the younger artists to move forward. There are just so many opportunities now as opposed to when he was an [emerging] artist that he was very giving and very enthusiastic to help and to get on.

“So this is our way of giving to the next generation and keeping up with the times… It's such an organic field, you have to open up your mind and be willing to talk to the students. And that's why he enjoyed talking to [College of The Bahamas] students because he was able to see how they were thinking and then be able to move with them.

“[Feszt] is the second winner who will be showing at Doogalik, and we are very excited about it.”

• “Life on my island”, original patterns and paintings by Fash|Art 2012 Jackson Burnside III Visual Artist Competition Winner Attila Feszt, can be viewed at Doongalik Studios Art Gallery. For more information, visit http://www.doongalik.com/.

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