December 18, 2023

Neville Garrick ‘heard colours and saw sound’

article reposted by Chelsea


As a key member of Bob Marley’s inner circle, Neville Garrick travelled the world with the reggae superstar at the height of his fame during the 1970s.

Kingston College, where he developed the artistic skills that made him a renowned graphic designer, was always special to him.

On December 16 family and friends gathered in the chapel at that school’s North Street campus where they reminisced on his personal and professional achievements.

Garrick, who designed several of Marley’s outstanding album jackets, died from cancer on November 14 at age 73 in Los Angeles, USA.

Two of his three children, his brother Derrick, and three grandchildren, attended the service.

Daughter Naomi and son Nesta, youngest of the siblings, led tributes which recalled Garrick’s passion for the arts, education, sports, and an uncompromised devotion to Marley, who died in 1981.

Nesta said his father, who was a consultant for the Bob Marley: One Love movie scheduled for release in February, never thought about profiting from the legendary singer’s iconic status.

“He did not want to make money off his friend. He never thought about writing a book. Again, he couldn’t really see himself doing something like that for profit. He was emotionally, physically, and spiritually invested into the movement,” said Nesta.

Tributes also came from Garrick’s Kingston College schoolmates, Patrick Oddman, Steven Golding (of Fab Five and Roots Radics bands), Patrick Hector, and Peter Daniels (read by Ambassador Stewart Stephenson); Olivia “Babsy” Grange, minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport; and Herbie Miller, director of the Jamaica Music Museum.

Miller, Garrick’s first cousin, recalled their early days in east Kingston, attending Windward Road Primary School. Garrick later attended Vaz Preparatory, then Kingston College, where he was known as KG, a student with a love for art and Motown Records acts like The Temptations and Four Tops.

While attending the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in the early 1970s, Garrick transformed from “a middle-class soul bwoy” to an Afrocentric artist sympathetic to the plight of the Black Panthers and embattled advocates, like Angella Davis.

Garrick, according to Miller, was “A visual artist who saw big things in small images, and small things in big pictures. As a lighting director, he heard colours and he saw sound.”

Veteran broadcaster Fae Ellington, who first met Garrick in 1973 shortly after he returned to Jamaica, was emcee for the service. She described him as a “conceptualiser, a visionary provocateur, a trailblazer, a storyteller”.

Garrick designed some of reggae’s most famous album covers, including Rastaman Vibration, Babylon by Bus, Exodus, Kaya, and Survival for Marley.

He was also the creative force behind Bunny Wailer’s Blackheart Man, Man in The Hills by Burning Spear, No Nuclear War by Peter Tosh, and Steel Pulse’s Earth Crisis.

The service, which started with a trubute from the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, was also attended by Kingston College past students, among them Neville Oxford, Frankie Campbell, Roy Black, Mikey Bennett; Stephen “Cat” Coore of Third World; Colin Leslie; Cindy Breakespeare; Nadine Sutherland; Bongo Herman; Tommy Cowan, Carlene Davis and Naomi Cowan.

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