Visual artist: Pandemic heightens need to support local artists

August is National Black Business Month

Dustin Harewood is a local visual artist in Jacksonville. He has been selling art steadily for the past 10 years.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every single industry, including the art world, but one Jacksonville artist sees it as an inspiration.

“Art is all around us,” said Dustin Harewood.

Harewood is a visual artist who has been selling his work steadily for the last 10 years.

“I think I move back and forth between portraiture and abstraction,” said Harewood, who is also an art professor at Florida State College at Jacksonville.

Between the brush strokes, you can find recurring themes of multiculturalism, colonialism and the environment.

Harewood said his business has survived the pandemic largely due to social media.

“Well, thank God for social media because, I’ll be honest, I don’t think I skipped a beat because of Instagram and Facebook,” Harewood said. “There’s a lot going on in 2020, and it’s multilayered. It’s an exciting time for artists actually. There’s so much to pull from.”

Harewood sells his art through his social media pages and website.

He said buying art from local artists is essential and makes a bigger impact.

“I want you to think about the idea of buying something for your wall that will appreciate in value versus a poster. I want you to think about this concept of paying attention to the artists in your community, finding out who they are, finding out who resonates with you and then following what it is that they’re doing, getting absorbed into their discourse and deciding at some point whether or not you’d like to purchase something from them because that’s way more impactful,” Harewood said.

Nina Simone said that an artist’s duty, as far as she was concerned, is to reflect the times. When asked what that mean’s to him, Harewood said, “The best, the greatest artists are the ones who reflect the times that they’re in, and if we go back through art history, usually those are the ones that stand out the most.”