[repost from Dec. 25/15]
We don’t know who we are.
This was the resounding theme during my conversation held with portrait artist, Alain Vincent. Vincent, a native of Haiti and now a local pharmacist in Victoria, BC, shared his personal insights as an artist.
During our chat, we were both perplexed by the question, “what is art?” It was interesting that we both came to conclusion that everyone is a channel for art. What comes forth is an expression of energy attempting to be seen and manifested. Alain, a self taught artist, discovered his manifested work comes as a result of an ongoing unconscious issue. We all have that ‘something’ we are always attempting to work out. He believes, the work, while in creative mode, soothes his senses. It works through him for resolution to the issue. “The real you is always on the journey of discovery and growth. Layers unfold and shed for our brightness to shine through”, stated Vincent.
Viewing his work allowed me to see the unfolding and discovery process he spoke of. Vincent’s work is an exercise in the excavation of the human soul. His ‘faces’ are produced through a process of unfolding. Faces appear as he moves away the layers. Discovery of what is underneath is a happy surprise and at times, a happy accident.
When asked what motivated him to create alongside his busy profession, he stated his early upbringing in Haiti predicated this deep urge. He pointed out that Haiti, a land of challenges, is also an environment that breeds beauty and creativity.
Visual artistry abounds in his homeland. Where hardship is found, creativity has a way of flourishing as a way for one to be valued. As he grew up, he discovered that the consistent creation of art was a therapeutic salve for many. When people have no voice, they create with the only voice at their disposal.
At Vincent’s December 12/14 showing At Gage Gallery on Oak Bay Rd, his display of sombre faces electrified the audience. Each piece told a unique story. It was not the intention of the artist to attach a ‘story’ to any of his pieces, yet a story came through based on the perspective of the viewer. I listened intently while those in close proximity to me give their interpretation of what they saw. I smiled. They were deeply touched. Each face portrayed a connectedness, a true statement of humankind. At our core exist a connection as old as time. Vincent managed to bring this out with every piece.
As the interviewed progressed, it was easy for me to understand the depth of his passion for his creations. Vincent believes that everyone should have access to original pieces of art. His work is priced so many can easily make the decision to own his work. He has just unveiled a rental business model. Pieces can be exchanged every month if needed. Excellent idea, a new face every month!
His work has garnered a large following on Instagram from enthusiasts all over the world. His fans avidly await new Alain Vincent creations and share their candid thoughts as to why they appreciate his work.
I feel blessed for having met this creative genius. His work is galvanizing. It pulls at you in ways that may not always be comfortable, but that’s the interesting part of what he does. We need to look back and see, feel and process and his work allows that to happen.
If I had to summarize the experience with Vincent, I would say he definitely had his own unique way of expressing in the world, his way, the artist way.