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Island Expressions: Elwin Joseph

Elwin Joseph with his painting, ‘Hard at Work.’Elwin Joseph is fairly new to the art scene on St. Croix, but his works are starting to be recognized at well known, annual art shows featuring some of the best local artists.

Joseph, who has been drawing since he was in kindergarten and took up painting just three years ago, says he was influenced and encouraged to exhibit by popular St. Croix realism artist Betsey Campen.

Joseph says he took some of his pieces to Campen’s Tropical Realism Gallery and frame shop to have prints made and she was amazed with his realistic art. Campen was so impressed she invited him to show his works with some of the best local artists at the St. George Village Botanical Garden.

In the last two years, he participated in the 22nd and 23rd annual juried Caribbean Fine Art Exhibit at the Good Hope School. He has had a one-man show at Fort Frederik, has displayed at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts, and has been in Starving Artists’ sales at Whim Plantation.

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“I am getting more involved in showing and getting more exposure,” Joseph says. “People are starting to say they like my work.”

Whealan Massicott, jewelry designer and owner of ib designs, said he really enjoys Joseph’s art.

“His work is nice and clean and the vision is very realistic in his reflections of colors, shapes and shadows.”

Joseph moved to St. Croix from Dominica in the early 1970s. He says he is pretty much self- taught, but he concentrated on art under the guidance of art teacher Gail Babic at St. Croix Central High School before graduating in 1977. He worked at Hovensa and had little time to do art work until he injured his back. Now on disability, he does his art work full time. He says he can do two water colors in a day.

He has 16 pieces of his art work on display and for sale at Danica Art Gallery in the Luncheria Courtyard in Christiansted. The show runs through June 15 and is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday.

In the show he has a piece he calls “Bob Marley.” The detail, shadows, shading and realistic look of Marley is amazing in the graphite drawing, which he said took 14 hours to complete. It could almost pass as a black and white photograph.

His style is seen in his water color of a lifelike black and white gull on a piling with the aqua marine colored sea as the background. The piece is entitled “Seagull at Rest.” Another piece in the show, “Ha’Penny Bay,” is a water color scene of Ha’ Penny beach club. Most of his paintings are approximately 16 inches by 20 inches.

“Drawing is really what I love to do the most,” Joseph says. He added he enjoys doing portraits in pencil.

Joseph said his biggest and best critic is his wife, Anthea Joseph. She tells him what she thinks the public wants and there have been times he has started works over after she gives her opinion.

Joseph says in the very near future he wants to open his own gallery, but until then people can call 626-9051 to view his art or for commissioned works such as portraits.

“I give God all the glory for what I have done,” Joseph says. “I think my art is a gift from God.”

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