The first time I met Jonathan, he was probably high. He had a pimply face, a terrible haircut and a weird cheesy grin. He went by the nickname ‘Rice’ and, at the time, was at a crossroad trying to get off the streets and away from some bad influences.
I wanted to meet Jonathan because I’d heard that he had only recently discovered he could draw. Like some freakish prodigy, he one day picked up a pencil and knocked out his first detailed masterpiece; an evil angel surrounded by marijuana leaves. There were probably also ‘pink elephant’ illustrations in his book, but he never showed me those.
But what I did see was brilliant; raw talent waiting to have a purpose.
I got him into the studio so he could start doing small illustration projects for me and he soon began to reinvent himself. What impressed me most in those early days was Jonathan’s determination; he wanted to be the best illustrator and if something in his life began to conflict with that goal he would cut it out like a cancer.
“The best lesson I’ve learnt so far is that talent is a potential power, it’s how you focus it which determines where you go.” – Jonathan Cajepe
It may sound cliché but Jonathan will tell you that art saved his life; it gave him a way to express himself and blow off steam. It took him out of a dead end and opened up new doors to education and a career.
And, perhaps most importantly for us, he continues to be a regular face at the Sheen Media studio working with us on various projects.