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Woolly Hewitt World Famous Artist

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Woolly Hewitt World Famous Artist

Woolly Hewitt credits his “world-famous artist” stature to Simon Cowell who holidays often in Barbados. Woolly was a fan of Simon and followed the show “The X Factor”. He created a portrait of Simon and gave it to him on the beach, in the presence of British reporters. It was promptly published in the British tabloids and soon went viral, putting him all over the internet.

Woolly Hewitt present portrait to Simon Cowell on te beach in Barbads
Woolly gifts his portrait to Simon in 2012. @Daily Mail

Follow Fame & It Will Follow You

Woolly was always an artist. He got sidetracked by studying Accounting at the University of the West Indies (UWI). That bored him to bits and he asked God to guide him to become wealthy and famous. His fame came early on.

Even before he captured the international media with his meeting with Simon, Woolly had his paintings of popular figures hanging in famous places.

Using the best marketing practices of the day, Woolly gifted portraits to influential personalities, including President Barack Obama of the United States. Other portraits hang in Government House and the US Embassy but, of course, it was the Simon gift that launched him into international stardom.

He has been featured in the international magazines People, Hello and OK!, to name a few.

Featured in New York Gallery 128

Following his debut with Simon, Woolly’s work was displayed in New York’s Gallery onetwentyeight.

Woolly Hewitt art featured in New York Gallery 128
Woolly Hewitt and Eric Ginsburg Portraits @ gallery onetwentyeight

Here is what one visitor to Gallery 128 had to say about Woolly Hewitt’s art:

“While visiting Gallery 128 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side last week, I was charmed by a series of portraits forged by the self-taught Caribbean artist, Carl “Woolly” Hewitt. Fashioned with wool, they exude a distinctly earthy charm and raw beauty. Based in Barbados, the artist had always loved to draw, but it was only several years ago that he began creating portraits with wool. Mr. Hewitt refers to himself as “the king of wool” or “the wool man,” claiming to be “the only wool artist in the world.”

Crazy Inez – Source: Artbreakout >>

Woolly Working on The Beach

Despite all this fame, Woolly’s works are not overly expensive. At My Collection Barbados, located close to the beach where he often works, between Baby Doll and KFC, you will find original works from just $350. See more at https://www.mycollectionbarbados.com/

artist-woollyhewitt painting on the beach

Barbados Ignored Woolly Hewitt Until he Was a World Famous Artist

Woolly’s greatest disappointment is that he got no support or recognition in Barbados until he had international standing. It’s like you have to get international recognition to get taken seriously in Barbados. Barbados, he says, “ignored World-Famous Artist Woolly Hewitt”.

In the video above, Woolly says he is not proud to be a Barbadian; he is proud to be the World-Famous Artist Woolly Hewitt. Like many struggling artists, Hewitt was not recognized at home. It took the international fame to make the government and cultural community in Barbados pay attention to his unique style and creative ability. He is a true icon of folk art in the island but as he says, “They thought I was crazy”.

Woollly Hewits follk art in wool and acrylic - price from $350 at my collectionBarbados
Example of Wool and Acrylic Art by Woolly Hewitt

New Artists Alliance Helping Artist

Sadly, his experience is all too common. Many local artists are underappreciated and folk art in Barbados is, on the whole, seen as either too commonplace or not up to international standards. It seems that Barbadians will spend thousands of dollars on a painting that was made by an international artist (no matter how widely known that artist actually is) than $300 for a locally made piece. It’s a very discouraging state of affairs that is the cause of many an artist giving up on their dreams.

In fact, it is only in the last few years that anything has been done for Barbadian Artists. The Artist Alliance Barbados, for example, was created by artist for artists. Its job is to create opportunities for artists to both exhibit and sell their works of art in pop-up galleries across the island.

Folk Art Misunderstood

In Woolly’s case, Folk Art is a particularly hard sell in Barbados. In fact, Folk Art has been overlooked and misunderstood globally for many years.

Renowned Canadian Folk Artist, Maud Lewis, lived in obscurity until a sophisticated New Yorker stopped at her colorfully painted door and became her first collector. Today Maud’s work is highly praised. Her painting of The Lobster Fishermensold for $45,000US.

Maud Lewis: Folk art defined by balance design and colour and composition

Folk art is often referred to as “art without shadows”. It appears simple but is complex in undertone, balance, color and composition. Maud’s art shows astonishing complexity in composition and expression.

It vibrates empathy and joy. It has been called “Simply perfect art without shadows”.

Folk Art With a “Woolly” Flair

Woolly’s works combine the colour and composition that comes from pictures in his mind. They stand out by adding dimension, texture and depth with wool. Unlike many traditional folk artists, he mixes paints and uses colour with abandon, creating drama and emotion with contrast, harmony and tones that both soothe and shout. He does not mimic reality but is inspired by it and expands the possibilities. His works express realism with vibrant imagination, creating art that is entirely his own.

artist Woolly Hewitt Portrate in wool
Woolly Hewitt Portrait in Wool
The artist - Woolly Hewitt Barbados Folk Art Icon

Woolly Hewitt is an accomplished artist in all media including poetry and lyrical compositions. He is a one-of-a-kind folk icon, creating unique art with wool.

Local Support for Artists Lacking

Woolly is not alone in his struggle to be appreciated in Barbados. Digital Artist Amanda Haynes says she has not tried that hard to be known locally because: “I’ve seen how other artists struggle and get nowhere. My target audience is international.”

Despite being active for 10 years, Amanda has only had a few local commissions. She is currently advertising online for international business.

You can see some of her work in the video below, which was a collaboration of several local artists

Amanda adds: I’ve realised that Bajans have the mindset that once it’s not food or not functional then it’s not worth the money. It’s more of a luxury item for them.”

“The exposure and appreciation are there. But mindsets need to change. People need to understand that a lot of what they appreciate has an artist behind it. As humans we appreciate fashion, accessories, aesthetically pleasing buildings and rooms. But without the contribution of artists, we wouldn’t have those things. Artists have spent many years learning to perfect their skill just like any other profession, and they need to live and eat as well.”

More about Amanda Haynes on her website Roshni Creations.

Woolly Stands Alone in a Genre He Created

Woolly Hewitt shares this perspective. His case is all the more vexing as Folk art is appreciated by only the few that understand the genre. Not many do; but that is changing as he gains international stature as the one and only world famous Woolly Folk Artist.


Story and video of Woolly by Ian R. Clayton @lifestylesoftheartisan

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