Where When How — March/April 2017
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Island Perspectives Artist/Designer Jennifer Maude
Sophie Newstead

JENNIFER MAUDE IN THREE DIMENSIONS: PAINTER, DESIGNER & BUSINESS OWNER

The artistic disposition needed to create paintings, clothing, homeware products and accessories is not only one that’s rare, but superseded even further by savvy business smarts to amalgamate them all into a specialist store. West Indie Boutique, brainchild of New Zealand born and TCI-based artist Jennifer Maude, is the product of a joint passion in painting and creating sustainable, natural items. The store, now four months old, has become a hotspot for anyone creatively-inclined after some local art, décor, clothing or accessories.

Painting

Painting-wise, Jennifer distils the key materials that define much of her work. “I use mostly acrylic on canvas and a lot of gold leaf, with a high resin finish. I just completed a four by four foot canvas that will be auctioned at the ‘Evening of Art’ show at Amanyara Resort with these materials. With every painting I do, I try to produce work that makes people feel rather than just matching a sofa, which is why my favourite subjects focus on portraits and figures.” The island’s fauna also takes inspiration, with flamingos in flight forming the subject for Jennifer’s last painting; a collaboration with photographer Amy Caicos, whereon Amy taking the photos, established the composition for Jennifer to paint. Division of painting time is split 50:50 between resort and hotel commissions, and personal paintings for West Indie Boutique. Jen’s favourite commission? “Probably the Anani Spa in Grace Bay Club, where I got to paint women portraits and figures, which is where my real passion lies. Domino Creative did the interior design and it ended up being a really nice space.”

West Indie Boutique

Jennifer, by summing up her latest creative business venture, highlights the versatility of using natural materials. “The main ethos of West Indie is to produce and curate sustainable products, which is why we produce bamboo sunglasses, bring in the reef safe and natural sun care line (MyChelle), and make the natural home fragrances, insect repellants and eco-friendly purses made from upcycled fabrics.” The locally made home fragrance line includes room sprays among other items, giving a refreshing change that many products in the same industry lack: simple, natural ingredients.

Jennifer’s clothing line, ‘Tricks + Chaos’ features fabrics often upcycled, and sourced both locally and overseas, from Morocco to Malawi to Mexico. Accessories include handmade fabric clutches, beaded jewellery, hand-painted caps, and colouring books illustrated by Jen herself (West Indie’s bestseller).

Any exciting new projects on the horizon? “I’m currently working on a new line of purses, designing a Tricks + Chaos rash guard, new t-shirt designs, chalkboards for local businesses (always! The glamour...), and new photo and video campaigns for West Indie, and of course, painting.”

One thing you know now you wish you’d known at the start of your career…

“That I don’t need to panic buy materials when I go off island, and that in fact there are so many opportunities to reuse things, upcycle, find in local stores, and to adapt. One thing that I love about living here is that our consumption is so much lower than it would be in ‘the real world’ and that in turn allows us to be more creative if we open our eyes up to it.”

Three tools you can’t live without in your craft?

“My sewing machine, sketchbook, and Pinterest!”

The Last Word

Fast-forward four months from West Indie’s initial launch in November 2016, and Jennifer’s merge of art, creative work and business has only grown in prospects, uniting her own creations along with others, into one coherent space. Whether a painting or a purse, she has struck the balance between artistic creation and feasible business, leaving the boutique not only a creative walk-in portfolio of her work, but a mark of the retail direction primed for a sustainable future.

Artist, designer and owner of West Indie Boutique: Jennifer Maude

Website: www.westindietci.com

Instagram: @tricksandchaos

Facebook: jennifermaudedesign
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