This body of work sees me return to my Trinidadian roots of social commentary and carnival. Calypso is the music I grew up hearing and its sole purpose is to act as the voice of the people. In this work I reacted to events from different cultures I have been fortunate enough to live in. The constant parade of young black males, in handcuffs, across our tv screens at news time prompted the piece “Predator”. I lived in London for a while and this isn’t something I was subjected to when the news came on. In a strange way it is about how I am perceived when I am in the US. The other pieces are about greed and how low people would stoop for “stuff”. Portraits In art history most of the portraits are of the bourgeoisie, and the ornate nature of the frames served to highlight stature. My portraits are about elevating people who would not normally be in museum portraits with the modern day judge of success or wealth, “bling”.
Ulric Joseph is a Trinidadian artist who presently resides in Pittsburgh. Ulric grew up on the island of Trinidad where his early energies were channelled into studying and performing well in school academically. His mother Linda, was a disciplinarian but was also someone Ulric credits with encouraging his early development in art. Linda supported her son’s early interest in drawing and was his biggest supporter until her untimely death at the age of 51. She was alive to share in her son’s happiness when he won a full scholarship to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Students from 33 countries competed for this very prestigious scholarship which is offered every four years, and even though Ulric had won, many of his friends in Trinidad still questioned the logic behind getting an art education. After graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) with a BFA in painting Ulric went on to complete a MA in Digital Art at the same college. David Jacobs (writer and producer, known for Dallas (1978), Knots Landing (1979) and Guns of Paradise (1988)) was the man behind the international scholarship Ulric won and he also contributed towards his masters degree.Ulric presently works as a full-time professor at MICA and also as a multimedia designer for Fairview Research an intellectual property company on a part-time basis. In 2008 he started Chillibibbi a one of a kind handbag company, whose bags are being sold at The Matress Factory gift shop and Gallery on 43rd Street, in Pittsburgh. Ulric has exhibited his paintings in Trinidad, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, London and the US. His recent body of work sees him return to his carnival influences using social commentary as a way of placing the spotlight on issues of racism, stereotyping and greed.