Kreyolicious Interview: Florine Demosthene, Visual Artist

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Florine Demosthene
Native New Yorker Florine Demosthene is a visual artist and educator based in South Africa. The daughter of Haitian parents, she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design as well as a Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College-City University of New York. A self-described citizen of the world, her work has been exhibited all over, including the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe, the Caribbean, and Africa.

There’s something startlingly original about her art. Pieces like The Move in Love look like scenes from earthly life etched in heavenly clouds, but by very capable fingers.

Kreyolicious: What’s it like being based in South Africa?
I’m based in Africa. I move between South Africa and Ghana.

Kreyolicious: What’s the artistic scene like there?
I tend to be more involved in the cultural/ ethnic aspect of each country. This is not to say that I don’t participate in the arts movements, but my drive/passion comes from learning about the unique cultures and cultural practices.

Kreyolicious: Did your parents encourage you towards the career path you’ve taken?
My Haitian parents? Uh uh. I think they are still disappointed that I did not become a nurse. Their plans for my life and MY plans for my life have yet to overlap.

Kreyolicious: Do you go to Haiti often?
No. I do not go to Haiti often, but I plan on changing that very soon.

Kreyolicious: Are there some paintings that you are more attached to more than others?
Each painting is a thought and so I am not attached to any particular one. Once they are completed, I move on to the next one.
Florine Demosthene

Kreyolicious: What would you say to a young woman who’s finished her junior year in college, who loves art, and wants to make a career out of it?
Being an artist, like any other career choice, is all about how much you are willing to dedicate to your craft. Many people often see artists as these laid back individuals, but creating art requires so much hard work. You give up a lot to be good at what you do. So, I will give the advice that my faculty from Parsons gave me: Move somewhere affordable and create a body of work. You should focus your attention on the content of the work you are creating. Once YOU feel that this body of work is complete, then begin submitting to art calls, residencies, etc. It is important that you have a clear understanding and awareness of what is important to you.

Kreyolicious: What’s the most life-changing book you’ve read in your life?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
Florine Demosthene
Above: A Florine Demosthene piece entitled The Move in Love.

Kreyolicious: Is it hard creating? I think that some people think that writers, singers, and other artistic types create effortlessly.
For me, it is not difficult creating because making art is my form of meditation.

Kreyolicious: What should we expect from you in the next year or two?
I want to focus some of my attention to creating small scale sculptures and performance. I don’t want to say too much about it, but it will be a logical progression in what I am doing.


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