“When we begin to stray too far from local subjects and ideas, art in Trinidad and Tobago will eventually become lost in the clutter.” These are the very strong words of Jason Lai King, an ardent artist who designs and produces comics and tattoos. In an interview with gieMAGAZINE, the artist insisted “I think art in Trinidad is almost lost at times and traditional techniques are dying out. Nowadays, we have ‘digital artists’ who create images on a computer via ‘Photoshop’, but are incapable of creating the same image using regular drawing and painting techniques”. A past student of San Fernando Secondary School, Lai King describes himself as laid-back, spiritual and dedicated. The 25-year-old currently holds a 1st class degree in Visual Arts from the University of the West Indies. His dedication is no joke having completed a comic strip that is now in its second season. The comic, ‘Ram and King’ is shown via a fanpage on facebook. The two individuals in the comic are actually a contrast with Lai King’s long time secondary school friend Kevin Ramkisson and himself. According to the artist, the comic is quite straight forward. Ram is portrayed as greedy whereas King is portrayed as a serious character with a bad sense of humour. Both of them are depicted in a series of localised adventures.
With the recent movie ‘Avengers’ out, Lai King stated that he utterly hates how the character ‘Loki’ is portrayed. He insists that it was weakly done, but overall the movie was enjoyable. He is looking forward to the second part of the Avengers series.
So how did this artist get started? Lai King bought mostly Marvel and Image comics just to draw the characters and soon enough he started drawing characters of his very own. When asked if he had a favourite comic, he said that it was difficult to choose because he considers them all inspirational. “I like drawing and creating comics because it helps stimulate my imagination and it allows me to be trapped in a world away from reality,” revealed Lai King.“Being a tattoo artist is difficult at times, yet still enjoyable. It’s easy drawing on paper but on living canvas it’s unpredictable at times, when movement is about to occur. I like it because its art you can carry around with you for everyone to see; compared to a painting that you hang on a wall that is motionless. It also adds to the human interaction of our daily lives, it’s a good feeling to spend time with someone while tattooing them. You become a small part of their life and vice versa,” he explained. Indeed Lai King is very passionate about his tattoo artistry, recognising not only his artistic gift, but also the social bonds that he creates with each human canvas that he encounters. In terms of his other interests Lai King is intent on travelling around the globe but primarily to experience other art in different countries up close and personal. What advice does he have to offer to other young artists? Asked this question, Lai King stated “Nothing comes easy and be prepared for criticism from others. If you desire to excel in a particular field of art, don’t restrict yourself to that field only. Glory to the brave!”