From a young age Xavier Delatour was sure one day he would become an artist. Over the years, he has begun to make a name for himself. The 40 year old multi-talented artist based in Haiti articulates his inspirations, as well as milestones in his career thus far. Xavier describes his creative process as follows “The fundamentals of logic do not exist in my process, and time is irrelevant. All that matters is the communion between the canvas and my true self. My intent is to challenge ideas and the way spaces, objects, are experienced, and question life’s purpose itself.” The Haitian Times spoke with the painter to find out about what inspires him and talented painter whose work is unique and thought provoking.
HT: At what age did you know you wanted to pursue a career in the arts as a painter?
XD: I’ve never consciously took it as a career. It sort of happened. I grew up running around in my grandmother’s art gallery so I’m sure that planted a seed. I think I was always an artist. Being an artist is not just something you do; it’s something you are. I could always draw even as a young kid and I always used to say I don’t want to be an artist. Little did i know, i was already rebelling, the hallmark of an artist. lol
HT: What inspires you when painting/creating artwork?
XD: Life, people, moments, everything. A mash up of things that consciously and subconsciously affect me. i rarely set out to paint something specific. I start by putting paint on the canvas and from there it’s something greater than my conscious self could fathom. i become more and more present and anchor the piece into something that speaks to me.
HT: What have been some high points thus far in your career for you?
XD: Getting to go do a show in LA was a great experience. Learned a lot made some cool friends and had my piece blown up on the side of building in downtown LA. Representing Haiti at Carifesta 2019 in Trinidad and Tobago and having my work exposed at their National Museum and Art Gallery was a rewarding experience as well. Every show i’ve been a part of has had its special moments and amazing people but those two rank up there.
HT: Do you have a favorite artist alive or who’ve passed?
XD: Too many to say. But to name a few of those that have passed; of course Jean Michel Basquiat, Picasso, Chagal, Wilfredo Lam, Caravaggio, Tiga, Albert Desmangles, Bernard Séjourné, Alix Roy, Préfète Duffaut, the list goes on.
HT: How has what’s been going on with the COVID-19 pandemic, and other recent social and political issues affected your art?
XD: It hasn’t made it into my paintings as we haven’t been feeling the same impact in Haiti as in a lot of places in the world or maybe I haven’t seen the relation in what i’ve been painting lately. But i’ve been experimenting with other ways of artistic expression. Learning some music, working on a graffiti piece with a local street artist. i’ve also been shooting photos, working for my design practice Atelier®, doing graphic design work, designing for my clothing line @nativetongueexclusives and getting ready to follow in my grandparent’s footsteps by opening an Art gallery/ Concept Space ‘The RAD Gallery’ with my brothers.
HT: What are your feelings on the Black Lives Matter movement?
XD: I think it’s an amazing time to be alive and witness and live what we grew up seeing in grainy black and white pictures. I’m Haitian born and raised, I’ve spent a lot of years studying in the US and there I learned about overt racism as well as the subtle kind, but my experience isn’t the African Americans experience. It’s different to me because i’m from Haiti we fought and got our freedom in 1804. i was raised in the first black republic so my perspective is very different i feel. To the oppressors they don’t see this nuance but it’s very important that we acknowledge the different experiences the African diaspora has endured around the globe through the years. It’s all part of the black experience in general but just like our skin, black comes in a spectrum of experiences and each perspective is valid and important to each other. It’s that common struggle and perseverance that truly shows that we are all brothers and sisters. BLM is an important platform that has the potential to break the status quo and bring tangible change on multiple planes.
HT: Have you created any new pieces, started a series centered on it?
XD: I haven’t painted anything about BLM specifically but I feel as an artist or the kind of artist I’m my whole being, how I carry myself, and the empathy i have for others is a constant state of rebellion to any oppressive system. But I don’t feel the pressure to make a statement piece either. Like Dave Chapelle said “The streets got this”.
HT: What are some ways you remain motivated and focused, during this stressful time?
XD: Do something creative daily. Meditate, hold space, be present, and eat healthy. I don’t think i’ve ever felt this level of calm in my life. I feel everything is in divine order. I felt anxious and stressed about the world way before Covid. Everywhere i’ve been in the world i see people with so much and people with so little, and institutions with high moral standards watch it go down; and actually create structures to support and sustain those inequalities. I welcome change, the world has been sick, people were void of distractions due to confinement they paid attention and it’s almost as if we are discovering these social injustices and how horrible the world is for too many people.
HT: If you could give any piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
XD: LOVE and don’t stress, everything is gonna be alright.