The business of doing art: COB students get insight on marketing themselves

It’s a hobby, a method of therapy and a way to keep students occupied after school. For many Bahamians, art isn’t a job. This mentality persists despite the active and sustained local art community that has been making waves in recent times.

While the business of doing art and making a living from it is something many emerging artists are novices at, the College of The Bahamas (COB) is doing its best to show them the ropes early on.

Commercial art, a class taught by Keisha Oliver, is offered to art majors who are interested in learning to use creative talents in a mainstream market. The class incorporates illustration, graphic design and screen-printing. NAGB Assistant Curator Richardo Barrett, a multimedia artist, joined the class this week to give a talk on illustration.

Barrett’s work is easily identified by its fanciful subject matter. The artist is known for incorporating recycled materials and bright colors into mixed media pieces.

After graduating from COB, Barrett was self-employed and supported himself by taking on commissioned work as an illustrator and graphic designer. His ability to market himself and his talents is part of why he was asked to give a talk.

At COB, Barrett focused heavily on building rapport with clients. “When working with a client, you often have to dismiss anything you’d want to add to the table, because you’re just going to be producing what they want,” he said of his reality check.

As a young professional, his words of advice resonated with the group, who took on his suggestions of experimenting regularly with a variety of media.

“I want them to understand that they should stay active in terms of challenging themselves with different media and accepting opportunities that they wouldn’t normally accept,” he said.

Barrett looks forward to the talks becoming an ongoing collaboration with the College of The Bahamas.

For more information on ways the NAGB is supporting the next generation of Bahamian artists, contact the gallery on 328-5800 or visit its Facebook page,