Marcia Jameson Artist
“I’ve always been captivated by color. When I was four years old, my mother took me and my two sisters to Barbados to meet our grandmother. The sight of trees completely covered with blazing red blossoms and a turquoise ocean with multi-colored fish swimming around us filled me with unbelievable awe. Seventy-nine years later, seeing the same brilliant red flamboyant trees surrounding my home in St. Croix and the cerulean sea just takes my breath away,” says artist Marcia Jameson.
“Our family moved from Harlem to an Italian neighborhood in the northeast Bronx when I was about six years old. That is where my creative journey began and where I became the person I am today.
With five children in the family, we had a lively household. As a child, I would draw and paint on anything I could get my hands on like cardboard boxes, brown paper bags, and window shades, using small cans of oil enamel house paints from the hardware store. I knew nothing about artist oil paints and pigments. My thirst for the arts, from fine art to music, dance, theatre, film and writing, has always driven me to try new things, at least once.
After high school I worked at a doll factory in Manhattan during the day then travelled uptown to my evening art classes at City College. An artist named Al Hollingsworth also attended City College.
When he saw my sketches he offered me freelance work inking his drawings for comic books and doing spot illustrations for an assortment of publications at his studio. That was the beginning of my career as a freelance artist at the age of eighteen. I was walking in the light.
I continued freelancing after I got married and had two children. Wanting to enhance my knowledge of commercial art, I attended evening classes at The Fashion Institute of Technology and School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, studying commercial art. I used drafting tools and colored gels to create very precise Graphics for slide presentations and logos, decades before computer graphics.
In the late 1960s, two friends in advertising invited me to join them in creating the Jones, James and Jameson Advertising Agency to accommodate the growing market for products for people of color. That really broadened my horizons. Even though our venture was short-lived, it was a once-in-a-life time experience.
Henry O. Tanner’s The Banjo Lesson holds a special place in my heart, as does almost anything painted by Paul Gauguin. Even though my work leans toward realistic impressionism, I’m trying to find the courage to “step outside of the box” and try something new.
I was privileged to participate in the exhibit 1270 Women at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, also Two Women at the Selma Burke Cultural Center in Pittsburg, Pa. and Black Women of Dimension, which I also curated, at The Storefront Museum in Queens, New York. Even though the art market in New York was thriving, I felt a need to be in a more colorful and nurturing environment.
I re-located to St. Croix in 1978, and was pleased to find a very active artist community on the island. I worked a full-time job and also freelanced, creating logos for the Energy Office, the Women’s Coalition and Camp Arawak. My art appeared on two covers of The Caribbean Writer literary journal and I’ve illustrated several children’s books. It was quite an honor to have my ‘Retrospective’ at the historic Fort Frederik Museum. The ambiance of the Island’s incredible past and pain surrounded me and it felt right. I was the featured artist at the eleventh annual ‘Caribbean Fine Art Exhibit’ at The Good Hope School, and proud to have been one of the artists chosen to represent the Virgin Islands in the exhibit Africa in The Heart of The Virgin Islands at the Matte Reed African Heritage Center in Greensboro, North Carolina.
There is no greater compliment to an artist than to touch someone’s spirit with their creation.
Never knew a new bicycle
Hand-me-down books and shoes
They brought the yule tides in July
Strolling for miles to a movie show
Singing a song “Shoobedoo
“While birds and rich folks flew
Right on by
Lord knows we got by
We brightened July with
That hot dog fun
Tell your mama you’re with Sue
You bring the beans and I’ll
Find the wine
Them neon lights were bright
And sneaking back home with
This girl named Jo
I hurried down to say do”
And stared my first man-child
In the eye
Lord knows we got by
And finally here’s that new bicycle
Working, praying, June to June
And mama’s got LA gleaming
In her eye
Lord knows we got by
And talking, hawking
Ooing, cooing, wooing
Loving, tugging, hugging, rubbing
Sugging, fugging, laying, praying, swaying
Letting, fretting, begetting, lying
Flying, trying, sighing, dying.