It is important to keep in mind that artists tend to enjoy their work. That sense of satisfaction is presumably why they keep chiselling away at it, even in a tough labour market. Jamaica’s economic prospects for artists seem particularly bleak, with financial instability, low or no earnings, little job security, and no pension or other benefits.
Shawn Ashman rises above those odds to pursue her first love. Known for her daring colour pallette and emotionally charged abstracts, she has been exploring painting on canvas for more than a decade. Art over
the years has not been her full-time pursuit, as her primary occupation is in the field of computer science, working with the Government.
The Merl Grove High School past student knew from early on that she had an artistic talent. At the time, she wanted to become a fashion designer and had high hopes of attending the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. She received a distinction in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate-level examination in art and fashion designing, and this encouraged her to further pursuing her passion.
However, this leg of her journey was not smooth. She did not have adequate financial resources and had no one to be a guarantor for her application to the Students’ Loan Bureau, so her plans were temporarily shelved.
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