Bernard Hoyes, Renaissance Man, Brings Afro-Diasporic Culture to Desert

Bernard Hoyes, Renaissance Man, Brings Afro-Diasporic Culture to Desert

Andrea M. Baldrias | Contributor

Coachella Valley-based artist, Bernard Hoyes, is a true Renaissance Man. Born in 1951 Kingston Jamaica, his introduction to art occurred very early in life when sent to live with his great aunt in rural Jamaica.

During this time, his exposure to revival cults, ceremonies and rituals left an impression that would inspire his art in the coming years. Hoyes’ upbringing gave him the free-range to explore his affinity for art. Shortly, with the introduction of formal education, he found himself confounded by the amount of structure and creatively stifled by the routine of schooling.

Though being present in a formal environment was difficult, he gained notice as an artist because of his imagination as a painter. Soon after, he attended the Junior Art Centre at the Institute of Jamaica which was the beginning of his formal art studies. At the age of fifteen, he left for New York City and began taking courses at the Art Students League and Vermont Academy.

“My father brought me up to the states mostly because people were noticing me as an artist in Jamaica. They gave me the opportunity to further my education. I was doing paintings and carvings and was selling them at the local craft market in Kingston. It gave me a sense of value as I continued. The art itself and me being an artist, helped me to pursue education.”

Since then, he has expanded and honed his skillsets while maintaining his style. “I didn’t fight it. I liked how it challenged me, and how I could make inspiring art. I was successful at [my craft] by the time I was in my thirties. When there was a change in the perception of art, I would continue with what made it successful for me. It gave me stability, so I stayed to my style…I am a full-time artist. I’ve been working at it since my youth, and I haven’t done anything else. My discipline is in various areas of the arts: sculpture, painting, printmaking, etcetera. Lately, I’ve been doing sculpture because the market for prints has been flooded. I’ve been doing sculpture for the past six or seven years. Prints just aren’t being bought like they used to.”

Hoyes makes art to elevate and touch people’s spiritual core. “I have been a creator of art, symbols of ancestral echoes since a child in Jamaica… The images I convey symbolize a culmination of these ancestral echoes brought to classical form. They are contemporary, eternal in spirit and stand as praise to our existence –past, present and future.”

A Renaissance Man traditionally refers to an individual who is well-versed in different disciplines like music, writing, and the arts. Hoyes commented, “The Renaissance Man is some what true in some sense. It’s still being realized because I don’t really write or do music. I recently produced an inter-disciplinary production using my art, where my art comes to life on stage interpreted by dancers and drummers.”

Hoyes is currently working on a couple of projects. He is in the process of developing a sculpture park, working on two murals (one in Kingston and one at the Church of St. Paul in the Desert, Palm Springs), and has an upcoming exhibition expected in November titled Spirit of the Land.

He previously hosted the Spirit of the Land show in 2015, and the upcoming show hosted at the San Bernardino County Museum will include pieces from this show and new work. “This show is about my impressions of the land (Coachella Valley), flora and fauna bone dry under the spell of recent drought. Being the sole guest for many stellar events, my tentacles are ever-grasping to possess the vistas that avail themselves. I am in permanent observation…exposed to the natural changes of the seasons.”

Hoyes continues to bring culture to the desert region of the Inland Empire through both his multiple previous projects and those in the works. To learn more about Bernard Hoyes and to view his previous work, visit www.bernardhoyes.com.

About The Author

Andrea Baldrias

Andrea Baldrias graduated in 2018 from the University of California Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Sociology. Currently, she staff writer and podcast co-host for Black Voice News, project coordinator consultant for the establishment of the Black Worker Center in the Riverside and San Bernardino counties, community organizer and DJ. Her passions and interests lie in accessible practices, conversations and strides towards the liberation of all colonized peoples from everywhere.

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