Reggae's Deacon of art

Reggae's Deacon of art

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

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POP culture and graphic designers are kindred spirits. Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead had Ed Thrasher; Andy Warhol wowed the Studio 54 crowd.

Not as exalted, graphic artist Lawrence Deacon has etched his way into contemporary reggae, designing several posters and album covers for top artistes like Chronixx and Grammy winner Koffee.

Though he spent two years at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, 24-year-old Deacon considers himself self-taught. Since designing EDM artiste Alejandra Santana's logo in 2015, he has been approached by some of reggae's finest for similar projects.

“Music branding is something I enjoy doing since I love music and immediately after listening a song, ideas hit, especially from my favourite artiste. A good song is a good story and as such, imagination automatically ignites ideas,” Deacon told the Jamaica Observer. “It's just about creating the right image. An album cover doesn't have to spell out what the song is but it should definitely be interesting enough to spark the consumer to want to listen.”

Deacon has designed album and song jackets for singers Dre Tosh, Garnet Silk Jr, and Jesse Royal, as well as posters and logos for Chronixx and Koffee. After the Santana project, word got out on social media about his edgy skills and he found a willing market among like-minded artistes.

“I'm pretty busy since I don't just work in music but I also work in other industries with various clients around the world. I definitely have to work on building my brand and business, not to mention hours spent in the studio, that's paramount to everything. Practice, practice is necessary to this success,” he explained.

While Thrasher and Warhol complemented albums of visionaries like Hendrix, Count Basie and The Rolling Stones, reggae had Neville Garrick whose concept of roots and Rasta brought life to most of Bob Marley's Island Records albums, and for Bunny Wailer's Blackheart Man.

Wilfred Limonious was the go-to man for dancehall artistes in the 1980s, while various artistes have designed eye-catching jackets of VP Records' Reggae Gold and Strictly The Best compilation albums.

Deacon was born in St Thomas but has lived in Montego Bay for most of his life. Since 2010 while a student at Irwin High School, he has worked mainly as a graphic designer but expresses his abstract tastes in pieces like Waves & Pain, which was released in December.

He introduced his Delawness brand in March 2018 in a show dubbed Waves at Montego Bay Convention Center.


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