Born in Porto Castillo, Honduras, and raised in Belize, Derek Webster came to the United States in 1964 to visit his sister and decided to stay. As a young man, Webster had worked as a freighter quartermaster, a job that took him to such ports of call as Haiti, Cuba, Portugal, Venezuela and Liberia.
Once settled in the US, he started working as a maintenance man, producing no artwork of any kind until 1978, when he bought his present home on Chicago’s Southside for himself, his wife and daughter. The purchase sparked an urge to decorate his house and yard with creations from his imagination. Webster uses pieces of wood and objects thrown away by others to make elaborate constructions he places in his home and yard. The influence of Webster’s Caribbean upbringing and freighter travels is evident in the bright colors, exaggerated figures and found objects dominant in the pieces he calls his “family.”