Twenty-two-year-old Shaquana Cummings-Seecharran, professionally known as “Quarts” is taking her art by the reigns and steering her own path in the creative world.
The young talent started drawing at an early age – in primary school. Quarts recalled utilising colouring books as a kid. She reassembled the books, creating her own scrapbook from the pages she would tear out. Soon after, she started drawing pictures of her stuffed toys before practicing a much more difficult style of drawing – anime characters – in her early stages of high school.
Though starting to draw at a very young age, Quarts never took her art seriously until she was 14 years old.
The brilliant artist never got a chance to write Visual Arts at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, but that never stopped her from aiming to pursue her dream of becoming an artist.
After high school, she enrolled at the Burrowes School of Art where she spent only a semester. She enrolled at the school with the intention of drawing and learning more about photography, with no foresight about all the other stuff the school required her to learn.
Quarts left after a semester because of the massive workload and the lack of encouragement.
She then went on to enrol at the University of Guyana (UG) where she spent three years trying to perfect her craft of drawing, painting, and other creative ventures. However, in her third year, she again dropped out of another learning institution, due to a major difficulty. She said the lack of understanding and harsh criticism discouraged her.
She studied drawing, painting, leather craft, sculpting, colour theory, art history, traditional graphic designs, elements and principles of design, and self-taught herself on ceramics and printmaking.
The imaginative young woman, after some time, started again, and this time she focused on perfecting her art and salvaging what was left of it after all the criticism that it had received over the years.
Now out into the world of creative freedom, she realised that it is nothing like she had imagined it would be, saying that it is not all glitter and gold like how the television shows would make it seem.
“Turning a creative freedom into a career, and I’m being brutally honest here, it’s nothing like I expected it to be. The art sector in Guyana is nothing like you would see on television. You’d expect to see these big fashionistas walking into a brightly coloured building with beaming lights coming through giant windows, you know? Instead, it’s just grey buildings, with dusty floors and tiny rooms they call classes,” Quarts admitted.
Surrealist and semi-abstract
Quarts, who described herself as a surrealist and semi-abstract artist, hopes to one day be the recognised artist she knows she’s meant to be, with no apologies given. She hopes to accomplish many accolades in the art industry, all the while being contented with the decisions she has made.
In the insightful interview with Quarts on Saturday, she shared her thoughts on the creation of a safe place for creatives where they can be amplified, celebrated, and compensated in Guyana.
“I think that’s the biggest issue right now. There’s no platform for us to speak out from. Even if there is, at least I’ve never heard of one, nor have I heard any of my fellow creatives speak about it. So, I personally think we’re missing out on one of the most important aspects of art itself – a safe place for artists to speak from and have things done after that,” she shared.
The artist has also taken part in art shows at the Castellani House, the home of Guyana’s National Art Gallery.
For now, Quarts has paintings, drawings, prints, and ceramic pieces all up for purchase on her Instagram page (@quarts.gy) where she showcases all of her creative thoughts