Hey there, readers. Read Part II of my interview with visual artist Fritz St Jean. In the last installment, he talked about his beginnings in the field and his influences. Today, the discussion is more of a retrospective on his years as an artist thus far.
Kreyolicious: Sometimes when certain creatives look back at their work, sometimes…there’s always that one…that brings back memories. What painting in your collection fits this bill?
I am enchanted with memories when I look at “Goudou Goudou” since it took me more than ten years to complete. Initially, I started painting it towards the end of 1999 when everyone was anxious about Y2K. Throughout the years, I struggled to make sense of what I was creating and the direction I was going with it. For ten years, I edited and changed this painting as my life played out. For example, I changed it while I had challenging health conditions and continued to work on it when I lost my brother. Furthermore, I edited “Goudou Goudou” as my daughters grew and eventually had children of their own. I would even travel with it so I can work on it while I was out of the country because I was still searching. Finally, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti brought the meaning of the painting into fruition. It was that moment that I realized the significance and purpose of my ever-changing piece.
Kreyolicious: What would you tell a newly-graduated high school graduate who wants to be a visual artist in the same vein as you?
Art is a complicated entanglement. There are many detours in this profession. It will bring you so much happiness and fulfillment. But it will also bring you heartbreak and pain. Still, I believe that art is the best way to express yourself. As an artist, you are constantly naked because your creations expose your vulnerability to the world. Through your art, people can feel your emotions, know your inner thoughts, and sometimes learn your weaknesses so be careful and work on your craft every day. I am still learning even though I have been painting for a few decades now. It is a privilege to be an artist so do not waste it!
Kreyolicious: Do you have any career regrets?
I believe that everything happens the way it is supposed to happen, so I do not waste time on regrets. I rather paint it away.
Kreyolicious: Have you been to Haiti?
Actually, I am in Haiti every day. Even when I am in New York, my soul is in Haiti. No matter where I am, I visualize the curves of Haiti’s mountains, feel the warmth of the sun, and hear the sounds of my roosters. Haiti is my muse so I cannot stay way away for too long, so I go back every chance I get. It is the place where I feel most inspired.
Kreyolicious: What is next on your plate?
I was just awarded funding to work on a series that I am excited about. I plan on having exhibits on the series throughout the year. Please subscribe to my website for updates!
Fritz St. Jean’s art is available here.