Pogus Caesar - Photo of the artist in birmingham handsworth gallery of music , on a film museum placed in the caribbean city of london - Image via Dee Johnson

Pogus Caesar

United Kingdom

Photography, Painting

Pogus Caesar
Pogus Caesar
United Kingdom
September 23, 2016
Andreja Velimirović is a passionate content writer with a knack for art and old movies. Majoring in art history, he is an expert on avant-garde modern movements and medieval church fresco decorations. Feel free to contact him via his Linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreja-velimirovi%C4%87-74068a68/

Pogus Caesar is a British artist whose unique practice incorporates the combination of old-school photography with an incredible adaptation of Pointillism. This completely exclusive style is a product of his personal preferences and background in the UK broadcast television business. Pogus relies on basic tools and his uniquely evolved style to tackle what he calls the Black experience – the way local populations are able to relate to this artist as a black Briton, whether in The United Kingdom or somewhere abroad like India, South Africa and Albania.

Since 1985, city of Birmingham and London hosted the beautiful West Handsworth music festival
Pogus Caesar – Cooking Ice, 2015

From Pointillism to Photography

This artist faced his first artistic moments during the wild 1970s. Initially, he was inspired by the work of Georges Seurat – it was the Pointillism technique that attracted Caesar to his paintings, the way he used tiny dots to create colorful pieces. Inspired by the French master, he started visiting inner cities of Britain in order to absorb everything they had to offer. However, it took years before the artist was ready to start putting things on paper – when he finally felt confident enough, he began painting in the Pointillism technique. Unfortunately, due to issues with eyesight such a method caused, Pogus was forced to stop utilizing this system, but it already established his visual language of working with grain. Confronted with the problematic sight that stood in the way of his Pointillism endeavors, he decided to turn to photography and combine it with his beloved style. He purchased a Canon AF camera and a 35mm film, believing that this iconic camera was the best choice for what he wanted to achieve. Searching for old newspaper prints and vintage photographs, he would view them through a magnifying glass- in order to enlarge the images and see how the combined dots created the composition. The artist stayed true to this technique even when he entered the world of showbusiness in 1985, allowing the television experience to provide him with a further insight into how imagery was used to convey messages to a wide and diverse audience.

Caribbean gallery and Albert BBC museum presented their art, film and photographs archives of gallery
Pogus Caesar – Rest Home, 2014

Unique Style

Besides the aforementioned Georges Seurat, this artist was also heavily influenced by Gordon Parks and Diane Arbus. By his own acclaim, Pogus was also inspired by his father’s extensive collection of books which he devoured at an alarming rate as each page revealed a world way beyond his wildest imagination. To this day, he continues to predominantly shoot in a black and white style, channeling the chaotic outcomes of unstable films. He has over 17.000 negatives in his archive, all ready and at his disposal when he wants to start reworking them. As for his current method, he stayed true to Pointillism but altered the method in order to answer the photography’s demands as a different medium. Through complex montages, the basic photograph will be scratched, painted, some elements of household materials are poured onto the paper and then left for a period of time. Acrylic, dust, text and paint are added if and where necessary, whilst the montage will be adjusted until what is in his head travels down his arm and into the artwork. As for his creative process, the artist explains it with the following: My creative process is simple, it’s to enlighten, uncover and add an alternative dimension. His development as an artist has been a long process, but his mature series such as US of A – from which all three featured artworks are from – demonstrate the skills and creative vision he obtained over the years.

Pogus created a unique style by combining the concepts of photography with the ideas of Pointillism

The OOM riots were the sign of new contact with alternative cultures, as riots burned; birmingham gallery film museum city london caribbean handsworth music
Pogus Caesar – Experience Not Needed, 2014

An Alternative Perspective

Pogus’ greatest motivation as an artist comes from the immortal words of Maya Angelou: A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song. How the audience reacts and realizes this song is their own private experience which is best left unpredictable. Ultimately, His messages are simple, all he asks from the viewer is to look at an alternative view of the world. It will be very interesting to see which course his work will take in the following years – through his photographic archive, Caesar reworks existing 35mm negatives and conceptualizes them into new fragmented forms. The series US of A challenges the notion of religion, sex, identity and race, adding an alternative narrative code to the American experience from a Black British perspective.

Pogus Caesar lives and works in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Featured image: Pogus Caesar – Photo of the artist – Image via Dee Johnson
All images courtesy of the artist.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2013Reggae Kinda SweetThe Drum, BirminghamSolo
2012Reggae Kinda SweetTrinity Centre, BristolSolo
2011Muzik Kinda Sweet: Photographs 1985–2009British Music Experience, LondonSolo
2011Muzik Kinda SweetBritish Music Experience, LondonSolo
2010South Africa: Brighter FlameSymphony Hall, BirminghamSolo
2009Muzik Kinda Sweet: Photographs 1985–2009Fazeley Studios, BirminghamSolo
2009Pattern RecognitionCity Gallery, LeicesterGroup
2008The Art of IdeasBirmingham, UKGroup
2008That Beautiful ThingWolverhampton Art Gallery, WolverhamptonSolo
2008That Beautiful ThingThree White Walls Gallery, BirminghamSolo
2008From Jamaica Row: Rebirth of the BullringKinetic AIU, BirminghamSolo
2007Seeing SlaveryPotteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-TrentGroup
2007Religion, Slavery and DiasporaHorniman Museum & Garden, LondonGroup
2007Trespassers Will Be Shot, Survivors Will Be Shot Again: Images of Joburg & CapetownFriction Arts, BirminghamSolo
2006From Jamaica Row: Rebirth of the BullringOOM Gallery, BirminghamSolo
2005Burning Images: Revolution Through The LensThe Drum, BirminghamGroup
2005Handsworth Riots: Twenty Summers OnOOM GallerySolo
2005Muzik Kinda Sweet: Photographs 1985–2009OOM Gallery, BirminghamSolo
2004Vibes: The Roots of Urban MusicHerbert Art Gallery, CoventryGroup
1990Sharp Voices, Still LivesBirmingham Museum and Art GalleryGroup
1988Break in the SealHerbert Art Gallery, Coventry,Group
1987Caribbean Expressions in BritainCentral Museum and Art Gallery, NorthamptonGroup
1986Instamatic Views of New YorkNational Museum of Film and Photography, BradfordSolo
1986Caribbean Expressions in BritainThe Leicestershire Museum and Art GalleryGroup
1985Pogus Caesar PaintingsCartwright Hall, BradfordSolo
1984Into The OpenMappin Art Gallery, SheffieldGroup