Art runs in Sergio’s veins
Name: Sergio Charles
Education & Qualifications
Barbados Community College (BCC) – Associate Degree in Fine Arts
The St Michael School – 7 CXCs
Occupation:Graphic designer, photographer, director, producer.
Introduce yourself to the world. Tell us who Sergio Charles is.
I am a creative. It’s hard to accept that sometimes because when I say creative, I mean in so many aspects. I was born into a creative family. My mother is a writer and also an artist, my dad is a culinary artist and also an arc welder and my two brothers — one younger and older — are also artists. I can remember being able to draw from around the age of three and drawing well beyond my age around age seven. That love for drawing developed into my love for dance, graphics, photography, music, film… If there is anything to do with the arts, I believe I can do it. I also think I am a pretty easy going, yet hard working kind of guy.
What are you passionate about? What keeps you going?
I am passionate about art, excellence and life in general. I see my life as art, no matter what I do, whether it be working on branding for an artist, conceptualizing a video or shooting a photo series. I believe that creating excellent art that communicates with people is what keeps me going.
Do you have a personal philosophy that you live by?
I believe that in whatever I do, it is important to bring a high level of excellence, creativity and workmanship and, together with my God-given talents, produce art that stimulates the imagination while getting across the required message.
What four words best describe you?
Ambitious, visionary, creative, leader.
You are a multi-talented artist. Can you recall what sparked your interest for the arts?
I can remember when I was at primary school (The Charles F. Broome Memorial Primary), in Infants A, I was sitting at my desk looking at a chart that had on a fire engine and I redrew it. I remember my teachers being very amazed that I was able to replicate the fire truck at such a young age by just looking at it. That sparked my interest in visual art which catapulted me into the other areas I am involved in now.
Having completed secondary school, you enrolled in the Fine Arts programme at BCC. Did the programme meet your expectations and are there any other areas you would like to see added to the curriculum?
The programme gave me a solid foundation before I got into the creative arts and advertising industry in Barbados. It is very strong in theory and sharpening your practical skills. I can easily say during my time at BCC, my fine art was at its best, in terms of painting and drawing which I also do. However, like any and everything, nothing is perfect. I found that with the programme more tailored to people who either wanted to become a graphic designer or a fine artist, film makers, video editors, photographers, motion designers, etc. weren’t really catered to.
The transition from secondary school to BCC has been a challenge for many. Was this your reality and how were you able to remain focused throughout the programme?
It was a natural transition for me. I had already been working on my own doing freelance jobs and had worked on one movie set around that time, so it was easy for me to be focused on certain tasks and be able to execute. I was focused on learning as much as I could and sharpening my skills, even though puberty was kicking in.
Visual arts cover a very broad area. Which areas do you focus on in your profession and what training have you done in this field?
At the moment in my profession, I focus on graphic design (visual communication), with a hint of photography and motion graphics. All the training I have received is actually more geared towards fine art, hence my associate degree in Fine Arts. What I know in terms of graphic design, motion graphics, photography and video is all self-taught.
Graphic Design is such a huge professional area that can span from simple logo designs to animation. Which aspects of the profession do you generally work in and which area is a preference of yours and why?
I generally work in branding, whether it be branding a business, or an artiste or an event. I also do a bit of motion graphics in the form of lyric videos mostly. I enjoy all areas but my passion is working with artistes to develop their brand. That can include artiste logos, album design, merchandise design, event branding (shows/concerts)… I love working on those kinds of projects.
With the easy access to technology and graphic design software, many people, especially young people, are tending towards doing their own logos, t-shirt designs and other forms of graphic work, primarily to skip the cost. As a professional, what are your thoughts on this?
I’m all for young people learning new things and exploring skills that they might not have known they had. At the same time, there is a reason why people actually study and train to become professionals in a particular field and that’s to offer the best service possible. I am sure people would entertain the thought of medically examining themselves if there is a problem or doing some dental work in the bathroom. I think any artistic profession should be given the same respect.
Which projects have you worked on in the past as a graphics designer and have you ever entered your work in any competitions?
A few of the projects that I have worked on as graphic designer that come to mind would be:
Branding of 2 Mile Hill (formerly Nexcyx), The Animekon Expo (2012-present), Gallest album artwork (Intolerable Cruelty), Sirrah’s Album artwork & launch campaign (Butterfly), 2 Mile Hill’s EP (UNCOVERED), just to name a few. I have entered a few competitions. I won the HIV Awareness Award at NIFCA 2007.
If you could be a super hero, what name would you choose for yourself and what powers would you have?
I would call myself Orca (orca whale) just because I think it sounds cool and I would like to have the ability to breathe under water.
If you had the opportunity to re-live your life from the first day of BCC, what would you do different?
I would have finished my Bachelor’s degree… At least, I think so. I know everything happens for a reason, so maybe I wouldn’t have.
You are given a free ticket to any country in the world. Where would you go and why?
This is a hard one to narrow down to one country so I will give two with a reason for each. I would travel to Italy to see historic art or Hawaii to explore and have an adventure.
My first introduction to Sergio was as a dancer with New Era. Tell us about New Era and your involvement.
I started dancing with Praise Academy in 2006, just after I won The St. Michael School Pageant. It started with three young boys at the time and then I joined to be a part of a piece for Independence (DanceFest). I always loved break dancing/hip hop, so once I got around more dancers with like mind, I would find it very easy to choreograph. Eventually more young men joined the group and that core group of five to eight guys was what started New Era. I functioned as a choreographer and I also was given the responsibility of mixing the music and pulling the concept together.
New Era was a very impactful and talented group, which was respected both inside and outside the church, especially for its choreography and messages. What is your most memorable moment as a dancer in the group?
My most memorable moment with the group would have to be the year we won DanceFest. We choreographed a piece called Unleashed. It had a strong and clear message and it was executed with excellence. We were able to reach people with our piece which had God at its core.
You were the Musical Director for the local movies Hush and Hush 2, the Set Designer and Story-Board Artist for Hush 2 and the Sound Effects Editor for local movie The Anchor. What motivated you to get into film and do you have any desire to go further in the industry?
Like most of my other talents, one thing leads to the next. Mixing music for dancing and putting together short multimedia clips for New Era’s pieces sparked my interest to get into film. I had been fooling around with music since secondary school, but started to take it a lot seriously during BCC. Working on the three HUSH movies as musical director taught me a lot about music and about film and the film industry in general. I think that’s where I found my love for directing and that’s the avenue that I see myself working in as I grow older.
You taught at Luther Thorne Memorial School and Milton Lynch Primary School. What subject(s) did you teach and what was the experience like working with the littles ones?
I taught Art and Science at the Infants level. It was a very interesting experience. I love working with young people so working with younger young people wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. While at Milton Lynch Primary, I worked alongside the Art Department to create child-friendly murals around the school. I really felt like I was making an impact on the younger generation from the kids that just enjoyed seeing the cartoon characters around the school to the children that helped to create the art.
They say all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. We know you are a very hard worker. What do you do in your down time?
Any chance I can get, I will go to the beach. I love to swim and just enjoy a good sea bath. I also enjoy movies so I try to catch one or two at the cinema at least every month. I also enjoy fine dining every once in a while.
Just a random question. What are your thoughts on the use of drones in the creative arts industry?
I’m all for it. It’s where the international industry is heading, (or) rather where it’s at. I hope we wouldn’t slip into our usual state of playing catch up to the rest of the world.
Finish this statement! If there is one thing I want you to know it is ……..
What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger!
Who would you like to thank for contributing to your development and success?
I would like to thank my family for being supportive of my efforts, especially my dad and mum Gabriel and Denise Charles. My brothers Nikolai and Alexei for the sibling rivalry, my uncle Roger Marshall for being a big inspiration as a great artist himself. My art teachers at both primary and secondary school, close friends and clients who have encouraged and challenged me to become better at what I do. Last but not least, God for blessing me with my talents and favour.