Picture This Studios recently extended its studio with a gallery dedicated to the digital artist Shane Aquart, better known as Dready.
Dready and Picture This have a long-standing relationship as the latter has been involved in the printing, stretching and framing of all Dready artwork, and the collaboration for an in-house gallery was the ideal move for both Aquart and the studio.
The gallery currently displays and sells 92 prints out of his collection of 160.
Aquart started with the Dready concept in 2004, just after Hurricane Ivan. He first began with designing postcards and went on to test the product in Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada and Grand Cayman. Then in 2008, Aquart came out with the first piece of art featuring the traditional stick figure, which he sold in March of that year. Over the past 10 years, the traditional stick figure has evolved, giving the figures a more defined and detailed body and face. Both the traditional and evolved Dready pieces are available at the gallery at Picture This Studios.
The ideas for his art come from a variety of sources including his own experiences growing up and living in the Caribbean, says Aquart, who is originally from Jamaica but has lived in the Cayman Islands for many years.
“I find inspiration in whatever inspires me in the moment,” he says. “Travel, people, living in the Caribbean. These were ideas I wanted to explore and in the process I improved my drawings.”
Dready art features bright bold colours and themes of island culture, road trips, classic automobiles, bikes, life on the water and goats.
Every picture has a story and a name behind it, Aquart says.
“South Coast Drive,” the name of one of Aquart’s favourite pieces, depicts a Land Rover Defender, tilted on the right bottom corner, while the rest of the print is just white blank space. While two heads are popping up from the driver’s seat and passenger’s seat, there is also a goat coming out of the window catching the breeze. The use of goats is indicative of Aquart’s Jamaican culture and it’s an animal that is commonly seen in the Caribbean.
Another of Aquart’s favourites displayed in the gallery is called “On the Road to Muro.” It depicts a man driving a light blue Renault 4 while the rest of the print is a tan coloured background. Aquart considers this a self-portrait while on a road trip he took to Mallorca, driving past cut grain fields that had the same tan colour depicted in the picture.
While some of the characters in Dready’s work have similarities, others have different body types and facial features. Yet, Aquart sees them all as version of himself, and ultimately considers them as self-portraits.
Dready gives back to the community by donating a portion of some of his print sales to various charities around the Caribbean. These prints include the “Lionfish,” which raises funds for the White River Fish Sanctuary in Jamaica. Prints with goats in them raise funds for the St. Baldrick Foundation, dedicated to childhood cancer research and to the Jamaica Environment Trust, which is a non-profit organisation focused on environmental education, advocacy and conservation. Prints with divers raise funds to Force Blue, which is also a non-profit organisation dedicated to marine science and conservation.
Aquart is thrilled with the new gallery at Picture This Studios and the growing partnership with the studio. “Dready has had a long and very happy relationship with Picture This Studios,” he says. “Every Dready that leaves Grand Cayman and goes into the world is because of the studio. It’s a very important relationship because we’re talking about high-end printed art, and so the work that Picture This Studios does is equally important as my part in it.”