Who is Mario Aristhène?
Mario Aristhène is a multidisciplinary artist, born in Petit-Goave, a town about 66 km from the capital of Haiti.
When did you know that painting was your life calling?
I have been told by those who knew me as a child, that as far as they can remember I was always drawing on everything I could put my hands on, but it was in 2004 when I won 1st place in a contest organized by Haiti’s National Palace that my faith in my talent and ability as a painter was sealed.
Have you studied fine art?
I studied and obtained my bachelor’s degree in visual and media arts at the Université du Québec in Montréal in 2015.
Who is your favorite painter?
I have a few, but the first that comes to mind is, Jean Michel Basquiat.
Would you describe your painting as abstract?
Every painting is different for me; although I paint some abstract, you can definitely also see some traces of figuration as well. I would say my paintings are more contemporary.
Have you had your own exhibit before?
Yes, I have had several of them, locally and internationally.
Is your art influenced by your Haitian roots?
At the beginning of my career, I was solely influenced by my Haitian roots and culture. However, after moving to Canada and after my studies at the university here, that influence has widely broadened. Now it varies periodically based on which art books I have just read, or the last research I have conducted. Some days, it is the classical greats that move and inspire me, some other days, it is the impressionist ones and yet on other days it is the contemporary ones.
How long can you work on one painting?
It really depends on the subject that I am working on, the emotions that are going through me at that moment, the size of the canvas and the overall energy of that day. The same size painting might take me 3 days to complete in one period while in another period it could take me a month. I never know until I start working on them.
What are the emotions that drive you to paint?
Every one of them! The whole gamut of emotions! Anything that touches me emotionally drives me to paint. Love, pain, joy, sadness, my surroundings, inequality, frustrations, regrets, sorrows…just about everything.
What is painting to you?
Painting is one of my ways of expressing myself, to share what I am feeling, sadness or joy…it is also my way of expressing, and bring light to what is happening in the world politically, socially, culturally and religiously. Painting is a therapeutic treatment and as such it allows me to connect with myself and helps me live in the moment and know who I truly am. It is also my way of connecting with nature.
Any exhibition in perspective?
Yes, I am currently working on a project for 2017, which is a mix of painting, poems and music that will be done in Quebec, New York and Miami.