Imagine a little boy at play in the fields near his home in rural Jamaica. He’s alone, watching the clouds and the trees and the wildlife around him. Silently, he catalogs the scenes in his imagination.
One day his uncle, an artist who lives on a farm nearby, observes him drawing on a piece of paper. The man tells him he has the talent to be an artist and hands him a sketchbook. At age four, the boy -- his name is Lenworth McIntosh -- begins to draw and those visions from the fields pour out onto the pages. Month by month, year by year, the sketchbooks begin to pile up.
Fast forward 23 years to San Francisco, 2014. Lenworth has just arrived from Dallas, where he has been living for the last three years. He’s been to high school and art school and taken a new name: Joonbug. He’s determined to make it as a commercial artist in the Bay Area. He has brought with him a brand label called Bugs 87, a comic book project called Bean Boy, and apparel enterprise called Fresh Kaufee Clothing Co. He’s also got his sketchbooks, which he presents to prospective clients as he patrols the streets and storefronts in search of business as an illustrator and brand consultant.
No one knows the ingredients for artistic success in a creative marketplace as competitive and economically unforgiving as the Bay Area. But observing Joonbug, sketchbooks in hand, you genuinely believe he has a shot. There is a stalwart confidence about him. For all the miles and cultures he’s traversed, he still seems rooted in the fields of his boyhood. It's hard to say what his Bay Area future holds, but it's easy to see it will be another compelling chapter in a most unlikely journey.
-- Benjamin Michel