The corridor that links the outdoors with the heart of Butterfield’s customer service area is an excellent spot to display artistic works, a high traffic area that lends itself perfectly well to a series of art work that immediately tends to put you in a good mood, (even if you are heading to the bank to pay bills…!)
Butterfield’s third show is by a local artist, Alejandro Angel Jr., who is also employed with Butterfield as a customer service representative.
“My real passion is art,” he says, “so I’m also studying for an Associate’s degree in History part-time at the UCCI, as art and history are so closely linked. It is my intention to study for a BA in secondary education eventually.”
Living such a busy life, you would not expect Alejandro to also be a prolific artist as well.
He says he first became hooked on art at the age of twelve when he attended First Baptist Christian School.
“I had never even picked up a pencil before until my teacher, Miss Kay Carrig, taught me my first art class,” he confesses. “I remember clearly that we were required to draw a vase full of flowers. I thought I’d just put a few marks on the paper but as I began I discovered a natural ease and the drawing just flowed.”
Alejandro says something simply sparked inside him at that point and, with the encouragement of his teacher, he began exploring different media such as pastels, acrylic and clay.
“Miss Carrig was a big influence on my work and I cannot thank her enough for her encouragement,” he says.
Alejandro says that he took up drawing at home and as he became more familiar with the art it eventually became his passion.
“My family knows not to bother disturbing me when I work,” he says. “They know that even if I answer I’m too absorbed in my work to really listen!”
“I love been young and yes, perhaps even foolish!” he says with a smile. “And I therefore love drawing pieces that reflect my youth. I get inspiration from the world of teenage angst in which I live, such as ideas of romance, friendship and general teenage drama.”
As such, his exhibition is filled with intricate windows on his life, captured by a simple graphite pencil, good quality drawing paper and an abundance of natural talent. A young couple holding hands, the feet of his baby cousin wrapped in a bath towel and flowers from his grandmother’s garden are all depicted in fine detail in Alejandro’s “we are only young once…” exhibition.
As a keen observer of daily life, Alejandro is drawn to the human form and can replicate incredible detail from the simplest of compositions. “I love to just sit and stare,” he says. “I think I see so much more detail than ordinary people. It just inspires me to capture every detail that I see, such as the texture of skin, or tiny hairs on the back of a hand, for example.”
Alejandro says he also enjoys drawing ‘The little things” which perhaps might get overlooked by people in general.
“The little things in life make my day,” he says. “For example, my younger brother Antonio loves playing with the buttons on his shirts (it’s a bit of an in-joke between us) so I decided to draw a selection of buttons for him.”
He continues: “I’m also inspired by folds and ruffles in material and clothing and in particular the way that they create shadows and light areas. For my ‘Bored Room’ drawing I was inspired by a particular meeting that seemed to drag on and on. I had to draw the neck of a business person, with their shirt top button undone, as if they had just escaped a board meeting in which they were perhaps bored!”
Alejandro’s relationship with Butterfield began last year when his School entered his work for the art competition held by the Bank at its opening of Butterfield Place. His piece entitled By Land By Sea and By Air is a brilliant example of his talent – three separate yet interlinked drawings of Caymanian icons which naturally won him first place in the competition.
“I think Butterfield’s act of drawing young talent into the Bank was a real inspiration for young people such as myself,” he says. “So often we are told as youngsters that banks are formal places where you must be quiet and behave, so they are not necessarily youth-friendly in that respect. By holding such a competition and connecting with young people Butterfield has really taken positive steps to engage the youth. I was happy to join them working as a customer service representative. It’s a means by which I can achieve my ultimate goals in life.”
Butterfield’s Marketing Representative, Kathryn Roffey then began looking at artwork that she could show at the Butterfield Place art exhibition and was excited about Alejandro’s body of work.
“I am very grateful to Kathyryn and also to Mr David Bridgeman, who curated my exhibition and taught me a huge amount about how to properly present my work,” Alejandro confirms.
“At Butterfield, we feel some of the most meaningful work we do in the community revolves around our work with Cayman’s youth,” states Butterfield Deputy Managing Director Mike McWatt. “Further, we have a high involvement in the artistic community – from exhibitions to art education enrichment in the schools. And so it is a delight for us to be able to combine those two very important aspects of the community with this one exhibition.”
Butterfield also utilised the opportunity of the opening to introduce its upcoming youth savings initiative, the Young Savers savings account.
“We hope young savers will empower student-aged members of the community to save and manage their own money,” McWatt remarks. “With the world in unsettling financial times, it provides peace of mind to educate our youth about the importance of managing money.”