Methinks it is fair to say that when a king speaks, writes or stands, an audience gathers, his subjects listen and some years later, he may be remembered for his deeds. Long live the king! Long live the king!
At a point of intersection along the pathway that connects the G and L trains in Brooklyn there is a small bookstore. And, although it is a Sunday afternoon, the pathway and the bookstore are busy. Clearly, the corner is a stomping ground of book lovers.
Sitting at a table in front of the stand and somewhat hidden is Mark King, an artist, and a son of Michael King, a former ambassador of Barbados in Washington.
Mark is chatting, shaking hands, standing and sitting, getting hugs from high school classmates, dashing off to get a bottle of water for a friend or greeting a member of his family.
Truth be told, last Thursday Mark sneaked (my words) in from Barbados and launched his book at The NEWS STAND, the book store in the subway station, on Sunday July 14, 2012, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
His work, titled PLASTIC, is a collaboration with Mossless, a publisher that specialises in self-publishing and Internet marketing. It was entirely hand made.
According to the book’s introduction, PLASTIC — the 20 page 10X8 inch collection — portrays the life of locals in everyday places in Barbados with a colour palette on the colour of plastic bags found on the island. Indeed, the cover note further states that the overlay of these vibrant colours in nighttime vignettes produces an “exotification” of the mundane.
King contends that because of this process, Barbadian society is thus transformed and packaged into a more desirable form of itself. He also believes that there are too many untold stories in Barbados.
Each page has one picture with a smooth white translucent overlay that has the name of the person in the picture. A boat, hanging vines, Crop-Over plumes, walls, steps, gates, rails, a horse, and kites are some of the props that Mark uses to complement the story in each picture.
The collection begins with Ella, a student in uniform standing in front of a retired fishing boat. The windows of the boat are dark and therefore it is impossible to tell if anyone is peeping at the creepy looking shadows that fall on the ground, near her feet.
The album ends with an imposing portrait of Gigi — an international artist and hair dresser — that tells everything, yet reveals nothing. Her golden hair lightens the dark background as her feet clearly follows, a shadow leading to nowhere.
Mark King is a Barbadian visual artist primarily working with photography. He is a graduate of the academy of the Art University in San Francisco. His work has been displayed in the Caribbean, US, Canada, among others.
Mark praised Romke, his publisher, who, he met through an exchange on an Internet blog three years ago. Interestingly, the many well-wishers and family who passed also sang praises of Mark.