dready_art_on_wall_at_ritz_2013 For those of you who are residents of the Cayman Islands or have been to our homes (No Big Ting and Coral Loft), there is no need to introduce Dready – he is everywhere on the islands.

But who is the artist?  Why does Shane draw the way he does?  What inspires him? Where can you find his work? 

Let me give you some background. Dready is, according to Shane Arquârt, “a style of faux primitive art” and Shane uses the pseudonym for all things artistic.  Born in Jamaica, raised in the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Belize and educated in Canada, the United Kingdom and United States, one might begin to see that this artist is a contrast between two very different worlds.  I asked him how he got started and he told me that he was always interested in art, always drawing and writing, but he took the path to economics, commerce and business in school (as many of us do, due to parental pressures).

The art, Shane told me, grew out of advertising and marketing projects and then…well, you can see the evolution. He told me that his first work was “Caribbean cliché” with Dready placed in situations, then Dready and the world he occupied and then people started asking for Dready to show up in settings that were theirs (as we, at our vacation rental homes, have done).  I love these people and,  if you are a long time resident or spend a lot of time in Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands, Barbados and/or the Cayman Islands, you will see them in real life everywhere.  They have a language and an attitude all their own. He has said that he tries to focus on a “West Indian sensibility with a humourous twist” – the mischievous man-child West Indian male and the stern, independent West Indian woman.  I personally see this every day on the street, at my workplace and in my daily life so I love that Shane displays it so clearly and with such a sense of humour.bashment_green_blog

The art is an expression of his youth (or, “yute”, as he calls it) and there is a very mid to late 70’s vibe because that reflects his experiences and memories. Shane has a love of colour and his work is done digitally and graphically (on a computer). You can see from some of the art shown here how the colour shines through but it is only when you stand in front of a piece of his work that the vibrant colours hit you. He tells me that this is the very core of Dreadyness – large blocks of simple colour, a healthy touch of whimsy and the breaking of things down into their most simple essence.

dready_rainbow_on_blue_finalYou can find his artwork all over Grand Cayman – in the Ritz Carlton gallery (don’t be shy – it’s free to go in – it’s all along several passageways on the way to the cross bridge over the main road), the Kennedy Gallery, Pure Art, or you can call or email him ([email protected]).  He does commissions – witness the signs at our homes (absolutely stunning and easily spotted from a long way away) – and I even asked him to redesign a work for us that I had seen hanging elsewhere; the piece is stunning but I wanted an earlier rendition of it with a very different back colour.  He was very obliging and it is now proudly hanging in No Big Ting.

jus-chillin-2out-osaWhere is the completed art displayed? Well, simply – everywhere! Aside from peoples’ homes, it’s on postcards, boats and t-shirts.   Shane also does wedding invitations, save-the-date-cards and birthday invites. He does car commercials with Sean Bodden in the Cayman Islands and they are really very funny – especially when you live here and recognise the local places. Here is a fun example.  His work is also found in the United Kingdom – football (soccer) clubs, clothing companies, restaurants and in people’s homes.  Also, I’m told, we can see it on the walls of the Bacardi headquarters in Miami.

Shane also has a line of t-shirts at Caribbean Canvas Company (in the Local Artist Series). He tells me that it was the founder of CCC, Hugh Treadwell, whose request to do something different was a driving force in the evolution of Dready.

You don’t need to be rich to buy Shane’s work – it’s on postcards, bookmarks and t-shirts everywhere.  His canvas and print work is very affordable and even his commissioned work is quite reasonably priced (he’ll even negotiate a little if you are budget challenged – just don’t tell him I told you) and he is happy to allow the finished work to be used on several things (we have used our No Big Ting sign to develop drink coozies and postcards that we give away to our guests). Take a look at his site – you will leave feeling happy and you gotta love an artist that makes you feel happy!daniel's_chickens