Artiste, actor, model gives up the potential for fame turns to the quiet life of painting
A little painter from Jamaica who has had a big life could easily describe fine artist Natasha Pasmore. The 39-year-old painter has dabbled far and wide with her artistry and is now a self-proclaimed “reformed wild child”.
Pasmore’s journey has taken her from visual art, to dancing, modelling, acting and rapping, and now she has come full circle.
Speaking with The Sunday Gleaner from her studio in Stony Hill, the painter showcased her new pieces and discussed the road that took her to them.
Pasmore’s love for art is evident in her surroundings. The painter has transformed her studio walls with designs that make clients feel welcome and gives off “good energy”, which is what her life is about.
Backbone to life
Pasmore is not new to the world of fine art. It is painting that has been the backbone of her life, allowing her the independence to dabble in entertainment.
However, it was dancing that was the painter’s first love, having joined the Junior Musical Theatre Company at the age of 14, with dreams to become a dancer.
Not finding that life financially stable, Pasmore soon turned to her natural talent.
“In high school, I always failed at art, even at CXC (Caribbean Examinations Council examinations) and beyond that. I definitely wouldn’t have thought that’s what I’d be doing now. But I am grateful for being an artist and being passionate about it, it’s been a gift,” she said.
After school, it was working at the HiQo Art Gallery and freelancing with art that made her a living.
“Art was my way of funding my independence. I went through a bad phase of alcoholism for a while and lost focus on my dreams, which was the performing arts,” she said.
In her early 30s, Pasmore said she woke up, cleaned up her act, sold everything she owned and moved to Miami to perform.
After a short stint abroad she returned to Jamaica and met singer Jovi Rockwell, who encouraged her to pursue music. She soon branched out into acting with a role in the Jamaican film Twang, from director Storm Saulter.
From Twang it was on to modelling, music videos, commercials and, eventually, music. Going under the name ‘Kali Eva Live’, Pasmore became a rapper, incorporating rock and dancehall into her act.
“I got into writing a lot and this is something I had never done before, you know. I didn’t even write a letter. People said I sounded like Eminem, which was cool. I had lyrics – dark, conscious lyrics – and branched out into a few sexy tracks,” she explained.
She connected with producers such as David Kennedy, who has worked with the likes of Mary J Blige and Mos Def. She also worked closely with veteran deejay Patra, who she says taught her a lot, and was noticed by producer Pete Kuzma from New Jersey.
When everything finally seemed to be fitting into place for Pasmore, a little more than a year ago, something didn’t feel right. Her ideas about what was important and the things that motivated her had changed.
Pasmore said she soon realised the entertainment industry was not the place for her.
She abandoned those dreams of being an artiste, threw away all her CDs, all her modelling portfolios and all acting projects, and returned to being an artist in a bid to rediscover her “spirituality”.
“I was going to get a big contract, you know. I was offered my dream. Then I realised my relationship with my Holy Creator is far more important than the fame that will compromise my spirituality. I will stay a little artist in Jamaica just trying to survive with my paintings, giving plenty thanks, because approval from my God determines my fate on Judgement Day, not approval from millions from my music or as an actor.
“I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I am trying to be the best I can be for the one who makes me breathe, my Heavenly Father,” she said.
There have been no regrets. Pasmore is fully focused on the craft that has been with her from the start. Her journey is reflected in the work she now creates.
“When it comes to my art, I’m definitely known for old Jamaican houses. I painted a lot of those houses that might not be there tomorrow – a lot of those houses have actually disappeared. I do a lot of flowers and nature scenes now. I never used to paint with black ever in my art, but after going through a gothic phase with my music, it reflects in my art now. So you can see where that’s coming from.”
The painter has buyers loyal to her work throughout her 20-year career and is always looking for new persons interested in her fine art.