To create is to relate is a sentiment that certainly resonates with Chad Hammond. The talented artist’s patriotic take on Red Stripe’s Special Limited Edition Label campaign – paying tribute to the country’s best athletes – secured the top spot among five other finalists. Zoe caught up with Hammond after his thrilling win on Wednesday and learned more about the inspiration behind his captivating track.
“Everyone’s original idea would be to put the athletes as the stars of the show. But thinking about what everyone else would be doing and how I could stand out, I started thinking about people,” he shared, adding. “I told a story to the judges about being in the heart of the Half-Way Tree for the 4x100m race in 2012. I just remember seeing the crowd in the middle of the road, blocking traffic and the feeling that it was a world victory. record. That’s what guided where I went with the design.”
After receiving several requests from friends on Instagram to enter the competition, Hammond took a chance on his skills and decided to bring a unique approach to the mission for the special edition.
“You could be in a stadium, a bar or even at home. you will always celebrate the victory of our athletes,” he explained, adding, “I can’t relate to what these track and field stars do, but I can relate to how we raise them. You can walk into the store and see a can [with our] athletes and say it looks nice. But then, you can see a crowd of people and go, “Oh, that’s me.” So I hope they will be inspired when they see it.”
His unique style and flair caught the attention of judges Daniel Thompson, art district project manager at Kingston Creative. Susan Lee Quee, head of visual arts at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, and Mr Sub 10 King, beat athlete Asafa Powell. He also caught the eye of others on social media, making him a top contender in the creative competition.
Drawing all the elements that made up the campaign by hand, it took him two weeks to capture, color and refine his story in a realistic way. He recalled not being able to spend quality time with his 16-month-old baby during this creative period, but, as a change agent, he was extremely grateful for the love and support he received from his family.
Describing his art style as fun, energetic, realistic, innovative, creative and just plain cool, Hammond has been practicing his technique for most of his life. Not a day goes by that Hammond doesn’t put pencil to paper and have it another way. “Art is everything. It’s what I wake up too [got to] sleep making. I made a career out of something I did in my idleness and I couldn’t be happier.
Attending Campion College, Hammond pursued a degree in computer science at the University of the West Indies after high school. Art, he says, remained a mainstay in his mind and heart. When it came time to branch out into a profession, there was no question. Since then he has been an active freelancer. “I do traditional art like painting. I also do digital portraiture and graphic design, but my heart is in design,” she said.
After the fifth iteration of his piece, Hammond believed he could walk away as the winner of the competition. And, on Wednesday afternoon, the drum roll filled the room at Red Stripe headquarters and his name followed in quick succession, much to the delight of friends and fans who offered a thunderous ovation.
“It’s amazing to win this competition. The hard work and long hours paid off. The fact that I won and the fact that it’s such a big thing for Red Stripe and Jamaica, it feels great and I’m incredibly grateful,” he shared.
Receiving a $500,000 cash prize, his design will be used on both the Red Stripe box and the sleeve of the six-pack that will be released before the summer and will be presented at the Olympic Village in Paris, France. More than anything, he is grateful to the beer company and the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association for partnering on this initiative and showcasing local talent for others to see on public social media platforms like Instagram.
“The thought that my design is in a beer can. it’s something I’ve never done before and it’s something artists and designers dream about. Many artists would not have received this exposure if not for the companies involved and social media. This, in itself, is a victory for art,” he emphasized.
So what’s next? It’s back to the grind for Hammond, who will continue to build his brand, push boundaries and celebrate the beauty of all things with all his ‘art’.
For others looking to pursue a career in the creative genre, his advice is to simply create, “Create and share. View your product. Have a family member or friend, show someone. Word of mouth is one of the best currencies you can ask for. Get constructive feedback and use it to drive your improvement.”