Crowned in ackee, a tropical queen of seduction reigns, basking in the bliss of the sun and swaying banana trees.
If you have ever visited the new Fontana Pharmacy on Waterloo Road, you might be familiar with this beautiful mural painted on the wall of the superstore’s beauty section. If you’re not, then look again! Flair got the opportunity to meet the talent behind the wonderful artwork and uncovered more about her start in art.
Deon Simone embodies her artistic name, rocking a radiant disposition. Specialising in abstract and figurative art, the self-taught artisan was blessed with the talent to create. Displaying a real knack for creative expression, she emerged on the professional scene in 2015.
“Nothing brings me more joy than creating a work of art that turns out exactly as how you wanted. Art allows me to express myself and my creativity. You don’t need a language to understand it. Also, to know that I can create something that lives on beyond my life is awe-inspiring,” she told Flair.
The young artist hails from the peaceful rural community of Duncans in Trelawny. Growing up in a single-parent household, Simone and her two older sisters received their artistic abilities from their mother.
“My mother was a dressmaker. I remember looking at her design books, enjoying every page and feeling inspired,” she said. Simone’s older sister could draw as well, and would enter poster competitions in school and win, so she followed in her sibling’s footsteps.
Inspired by people, she revels in experimenting with vibrant colours and shapes, highlighting themes of romance, female empowerment, and emotions such as joy, sadness, and anger, among others, in the creative process. ‘An Abstract Woman’ and ‘Beauty’ are two of her best sellers. Among her favourites are ‘Beauty’ and ‘Simone’. Before she knew it, she had elevated from painting on a canvas, to tapping into the world of street art and murals.
“What I love most about street art is the ability to turn a dull place into a vibrant space. It brings people together. People stop by murals and take selfies and interact. I always admired the work of overseas muralists. I got the opportunity to do my first mural for Kingston Creative Artwalk in 2018 in Downtown Kingston.” She named it Flower Child: a flower blooming out of peace, hope, love, unity, and joy, and it stands as one of her faves. She has since created ‘Untitled’, executed with the help of others from Kingston Creative Artwalk, which shows a little girl reading her storybooks and her imagination comes to life. And she recently did, ‘We are Jamaicans’, a public exhibit of what it means to be Jamaican: bold, colourful, and confident. “We light up any city, town, or country we are in.”
With all its breakthrough, art entrepreneurship does present its fair share of setbacks, two of which include time management and funds. “One way I improve cash flow is to require a down payment for my products and services. And my solution for time management is to make time. If any task doesn’t match my goals, I eliminate them. Additionally, if there are any tasks that doesn’t absolutely have to be completed by me, I delegate them.”
When Simone was given the opportunity to not only be an artisan at the Fontana Waterloo, but to have her mural featured on display in the store, she was honoured.“It’s a good feeling and it shows that I am making a step in the right direction. I wanted to complement the beauty section by having a beautiful Jamaican woman, emphasising the Jamrock elements with the ackee crown and banana walk,” she said.
The marketer by profession, who occasionally dabbles in graphic design, encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to think of what they want to do and believe in themselves. “It’s very hard for others to believe in you if you do not believe in yourself.”
Have you spotted your favourite? You can find Simone’s 8×10 canvas prints inside Fontana Waterloo. Or you can check out more of her other artworks at www.deonsimone.com.
A big thank you to Fontana Waterloo for accommodating Flair and facilitating this shoot.
Story by Krysta Anderson.