July Artist of the Month – Gre Ronald

Art has always come naturally to 33-year-old, Gre Ronald, who was always doodling in his school notebooks and any scrap of paper that he could find at home. When he was a child and his father noticed his interest in drawing he encouraged him to go spend some time learning from a cousin of his who knew how to paint. It was with his cousin that Gre began to learn how to turn his doodles into art and translate sketches into paintings. When he was older he enrolled in ENARTS in Port-au-Prince in 2005 to begin his formal training in the arts. He stayed working in Port-au-Prince until 2010 when after the earthquake he moved back to Jacmel where his mother lived. Once in Jacmel, he learned about FOSAJ and enrolled as a student in 2012.

Although he’s been trained in a variety of styles, he has always gravitated towards reinterpreting the traditional Haitian market scenes that have become such a definitive part of Haitian folk art. To him, creating these paintings is a process of transferring the energy and life that he feels in the public markets onto canvas. Whenever he walks into a market he is fascinated by the complex web of communications and relationships that happens within the space between the vendors with other vendors and the customers and every element within the market plays a specific role. He likes to paint the market as a living organism itself, made up of many smaller parts that all contribute to the vitality of the whole. With his detailed compositions he hopes the viewers of his art are able to feel this immense sense of life and energy that consumes Haitian markets.

Even more so than the market paintings, though, he feels that the most powerful kind of art that he can create is abstract. Abstract is his preferred style because he finds joy in playing with colors and exploring what they mean when you compose them in certain ways allowing them to speak for themselves. Color to him is his soul, his blood. He put it this way, “All of my bones together make me a human, but my bones are made of color and paint.” When he imagines how the spirit of people can transform in ways beyond what our eyes can see he likes to portray that through his abstract compositions. The colors can show us that. Marrying colors together represents the way we want to live together and when colors aren’t in harmony, it means we are not creating the world that we want to live in. It’s through abstraction that he’s able to send a stronger message to anyone who looks at his work whether it is a politician, a teacher, another artist, or anyone in his country. He is able to express his hopes for life through his colors and abstraction. Art to him is a reflection of what his heart believes. Art is his life and love. Anytime he walks by a painting he feels like it gives him life.

Gre is newly married to a woman that he met in university while he was studying journalism. His wife is currently finishing up her degree in medicine. They married in June. Gre, like most of our artists at the Jacmel Arts Center, is a father and is able to support his children and provide for their educations thanks to his work as an artist and the opportunity that he has to sell his work to make an income. For this reason, the Jacmel Arts Center means a lot to Gre because it helps him support his family. He hopes that the center finds the support that it needs to continue to grow and thrive. He believes that this will happen based on the quality of the work that the artists here continue to create.

We are thankful for Gre as one of our members and his contributions to making sure we always have quality work on display to represent all of our artists and our community!

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