By Lisa King | Mon, January 13, 2014 - 12:00 AM
Carl “Woolly” Hewitt has taught himself how to use wool to make portraits.
He was always interested in art, but the idea crossed his mind to do something different from what the public had come to expect; something different from the whole idea of acrylic and oil paintings.
Now he proudly calls himself “the king of wool” or “the wool man”.
“There are many governors general, many professors but I am the only wool artist in the world,” Hewitt boasted.
The journey started at Lil Brown Shop in Nelson Street, where he created his first piece, which happened to be a portrait of an Alleyne School student. He said the process could take a few weeks – he has to decide who his next subject will be, draw the sketch and apply the wool.
Most of his portraits are of wellknown people. Hewitt said he created a portrait of President Barack Obama of the United States, which was delivered and he believes now stands in the White House. His artwork of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart lies in Ilaro Court and a portrait of American Ambassador to Barbados Larry Palmer is at the US Embassy.
He admitted that when he first started, people thought that he was crazy, but his work has caught on. One portrait of King Dyal was sold promptly and one of former cricketer Sir Wesley Hall was bought by a Canadian couple, “so it sits at a lovely home somewhere in Canada”.
His most recent presentation of a portrait to regular visitor to Barbados Simon Cowell made it into the British tabloids and can be seen on the Internet. Hewitt is proud of that accomplishment, which he said had won him international acclaim.
Hewitt said his work could now go for a “pretty sum” thanks to that success and he believed he could now ask for seven-figure sums.
However, he has not sold any at that price, but he hopes that with his “global” status and Internet exposure, he will have a buyer soon.
Hewitt’s plans include working on portraits of Oprah Winfrey, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and John Lennon.
He lamented that the Barbadian public was not too keen on buying art pieces and he would therefore focus his work on the international market.
“The Barbadian society never acknowledged my work,” he said. “Barbadians have things at their fingertips and they do not acknowledge until the person has reached their apex. I think we should regard our nation’s boys, girls, men and women for who they are.”
Nonetheless, Hewitt said that as a Barbadian he was pleased to have the title of the only wool artist, and to have created such a stir in the art world.
He said he knew that his was a very young art, but he still wanted to put the theory behind the work into a book. In addition, he wants to teach a family member “the know-how” to ensure the art did not die. Hewitt, who calls himself a born artist, loved to draw from the time he was a boy. He not only has an interest in art but also does poetry, plays and lyrical compositions.
He credits the arts for helping him develop and conquer some personal challenges. He said as a youngster he had a bad temper and anger management issues, but art has helped to calm him down as he puts his energy into his work.
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