Herold Pierre Louis is one of Haitian painting’s bring young talents. A figurative painter, more than often in bright colors, his art aims to bring joy to morbidity, a sort of exuberant joy, full of color and humor, theorized while living in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, one of the world’s poorest cities, but also one of its most vibrant.
I first found Herold Pierre Louis’s work on Facebook, when Galerie El Saieh, one of Haiti’s most important art galleries, shared his work onto my newsfeed. Like Herold, I grew up in Haiti and believe that the riots that overthrew the Duvalier dictatorships in February of 1986 produced a city with a different idea of itself, an idea that is slowly being translated into art. Port au Prince was once a deeply racist city (light skin vs dark skin black,) host to a literal apartheid, where an elite considered the poor “scum.” Some still do, but with 1986 this “scum” has found itself to be all important in the game of Haitian politics. In sculpture, this new sense of self can be seen in the work of Atis Rezistans, an internationally recognized sculpture collective. In painting, Herold’s art is this new idea, an egalitarian idea that expresses that “all people are people” as the slogan that got Jean Bertrand Aristide elected President go. Herold is a member of atis rezistans.
I interviewed Herold. He was a gracious interviewee. I hope that his art can find an audience in the US, as the art of a changing city, fighting to stay alive and to make a life out of its present.
1. I love your paintings. Do you only paint?
I’m mainly a painter, but I also sculpt. I started painting at 6 and now I’m 21; I’ve been painting for most of my life.
2. What is your painting process, as in how do you generally conceptualize a piece of art, and then how do you execute?
I generally think of my paintings as a story and execute them as storytelling. I often write that story out, either on the painting itself or as the painting’s description.
3. You paint figuratively. What inspires the figures in your paintings?
They are purely figments of my imagination.
4. You are great with color. What inspires your color choice, especially of pink and of yellow?
I just love those two colors. They speak up about my ambitions to be exhibited, but also my living conditions.
5. What’s your great ambition as an artist?
To be exhibited in a gallery with as much of an appreciation for Haitian art as I have. I am also a teacher; I teach kids to paint and would love to continue to do so with more impact.