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Friday 7th October 2011

Kelvin “Mongoose” Russell is a true Visual Artist at the cutting edge of new Trends in Antigua & Barbuda. A very determined young man; there is an energy and drive present that is unmistakable.

“I’m a country boy, born and raised in Seaview Farm, so no stranger to the bushes or pond fishing! Mum raised us all, two girls and two boys, and worked very hard to provide for us. I wasn’t born with a gold or silver spoon in my mouth – it was probably disposable!” Quick witted, Mongoose is a very unique individual. A true Character blessed with natural visual talent.

“I graduated from All Saints Secondary School. My passion was always art & I was always the one in the class sketching freehand in my copybooks. I would draw full portraits of teachers & friends and they would be amazed. I have a photographic memory. If I can see it, I can draw it. Outside of school, I was really excited about other mediums to express my art. My Uncle bought me my first airbrush, and since then, I haven’t looked back.”
 Mongoose started his first business at the age of eighteen and is now one of Antigua & Barbuda’s premiere custom artists.

“Body painting at Carnival & fashion shows made my reputation; it was the work I did at Fashiontastic, Solid International, Myst Mas Troupe & Homecoming Queen that really established me. I don’t see the same thing, in the same way, as everybody else – and I never see the same thing twice!” This dedication has resulted in the Mongoose Airbrushing & Kings Tattoo business located in High Street, St. Johns & every year, CXC students are referred to his office for guidance & inspiration to follow their own artistic path.

“I love what I do. If it can take paint, I can do it. I’ve even airbrushed a wedding cake with food colouring! My view is simple. Put your best foot forward & keep it forward.”
So what has made Mongoose successful?
“Will-power, I don’t let anything stop me. I’m very lucky to have a soul mate in my sister Stacey; she has pushed me forward at every opportunity. This encouragement has taught me talent & potential must be matched with focus & hard work.”

Mongoose clearly sees these qualities & attributes in the other talents in the Antigua & Barbuda For Life Campaign & says they were a perfect selection to reflect the theme of national pride.

“Antiguan & Barbudans are very proud people. While our country is small, our talent, potential and capability is limitless. Tizzy & EL-A-KRU, Gravy, Chickie, Tha Shya & Brucella have proven this. To be part of this campaign makes me so proud - I even dropped the phone when I was asked to be a part of it – I’m Antiguan & Barbudan FOR LIFE!”

Still in his mid-twenties, the future is very clear.

“I want to give back through teaching visual arts and maybe explore the performing arts. The young people of this country are very musical, very visual & performance orientated. Why not build it up, encourage it and develope it?  I started with spray cans, no training & no resources. Now, I have a facebook following of 6,000 fans around the world today. Who knows, maybe Hollywood is my next step. Why shouldn’t the next big star be from Antigua & Barbuda?”
Mongoose is unique, talented, driven & innovative.
“Just stay positive, stay focused & the future is yours.”

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