11 Questions For Patsye Delatour, Visual Artist

The Greater Washington Urban League along with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities were one of the first outlets to feature the work of emerging artist Patsye Delatour. She was part of their prestigious Art Tempo exhibit.

The Corcoran College of Art and Design graduate was born and bred around art. Her style is best described as abstract. There’s a painting she calls “The Prince” that depicts a royal with a mohawk and tribal marks and a “primitive” necklace. Delatour’s style brings to mind hieroglyphics and ancient sketches, the sort that you might run across in a textbook about the study of ancient civilizations. There’s an almost Abyssinian-Greek-Medo/Persian aura to her art.

Born in Port-au-Prince, Delatour has since returned to her native city.

Kreyolicious: Do tell us: just who is Patsye Delatour?

It is such a deep question, and I have always been a thinker as I am an only child—not to be confused or misinterpreted with lonely. If I am to answer this question in the context of being an artist, I am one who channels different frequencies that then are placed onto different mediums to bring out positive messages to the viewer. These messages can be about spirituality, history, different life forms, guides, spirits, as well as introspection, mother nature, Earth, preserving nature and being one with everything and nothing.

I am a person who is always searching within as to better connect with others and life itself.

I believe in the light and have made a conscious decision to be used by the light to help manifest the creative pieces that I am asked to do. I take it as big responsibility for those whom are meant to connect, respond to the pieces that are created through me will resonate with them and acquire from them what they are meant to take in. When I see someone have an amazing connection with what is created through me, it reminds me of why it is I do what I do. It is a very gratifying feeling, for it is something that is greater then myself, and it just brings me full circle. It’s worth all the challenges, and troubles, when you can give to others.
Kreyolicious: Wooh. That’s some introduction. Thank you…You went to a fine arts school. What was the biggest thing you learned in terms of techniques?

One of the most valuable techniques that I learned at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington DC, came from one of my favorite instructors Annette Polan. I recall her saying: “Today I will teach you to see.” What she meant by that, was she was going to teach us how to truly understand what we are perceiving when we view an inanimate object or a live model-person. To truly create what you see, you have to be honest about what you do not see. Meaning, when you are drawing an eye for example there are certain creases that you see, because of the play between light and shadow. It is that play between those two things that permits you to perceive that line, or crease above the eye. To say that you see every detail of the eye when standing feet away from a model that is a lie, or a misconception, so simply draw or paint what you see, which is exactly that, the play between light and shadow.

In many ways, having been taught to see is truly a great metaphor for life. We can be fooled by perception, but we must simply acknowledge truth not found through assumption but through the taking away of layers and preconceived notions.  

Kreyolicious: What usually sparks the creation of a painting?

To better respond to this question it is important that I express that when I create, I am simply channeling an energy that permits me to express whatever it is that it needs to be shared on paper or on canvas.

Inspiration comes to me through a gut feeling, almost a nagging feeling that stems inside of me. I sometimes feel an energy or a spark from within, like a calling that I must respond to. It is a very strong feeling, and I know that in that very moment of stillness, I will be asked to travel outwardly. It will then be expressed through the line drawings that I have named Vibration Lines or through my paintings that have been created through me.

During this creation phase, I like to meditate, listen to music, burn incense to help transport me to a dimension and level of consciousness that goes beyond the material permitting me to be a clear vessel to be used by this positive energy.
Once I have acknowledged it is time to create, it moves very quickly and what I am meant to draw or paint is created at a very rapid pace.

Kreyolicious: To someone who is not a painter, it would seem that painting is easy. One only has to pick up a brush, look out a window and…boom. Is it as easy as it looks?

That is a tricky question for some it is that easy, but at the same time though one defines easy by their own experiences. I can only respond to this question based on my own experience. Before going to the Corcoran, what was easy for me was writing, writing poetry, short stories as I always had a very vivid imagination. I have always been able to easily express my thoughts, my imagination, my vision both verbally and in writing.

Communicating what I was observing in art school through drawing or painting at the very beginning was not easy. As I mentioned before, I thankfully was taught to see, through the honest breaking down of observation. Learning as well about how to apply paint, mix colors, how to understand the human form, break down the human form, respecting lines, playing with light and shadow, understanding the elements of design—amongst other techniques. These lessons permitted me to be able to truly draw, as it was not my natural tendency or nature.

One also has to remember that generally the simplest things are the hardest things. When one has perfected a particular technique, I would suppose the biggest compliment would be they make it look so easy.

“Green” by Pastsye Delatour.
Kreyolicious: You are based in Haiti. How are women painters viewed there?

In my opinion, I would say women artists are well perceived. If one is talented, one is respected—male or female—matters not. I grew up seeing the artist Luce Turnier for example. Her work was always respected and I recall how popular and in demand she was in regards to her portraits let alone her depiction of coconut trees. I know personally several Haitian female artists both well-known and up-and-coming, and as I mentioned before, it’s their remarkable talents that speaks volumes.

At the same token, its always great to see women artists or art lovers pushing other women to excel and to succeed. You have Marie-Alice Theard’s book Presence Feminine Dans L’Art Haitien [Feminine Presence in Haitian Art] who has compiled different Haitian women painters, providing an opportunity for one to learn about these artists and see a bit of their work. You have great young talented minds, Beatrice Celestin also innovating and creating creative atmospheres not just for women, but for the arts. You have Valeire Noisette and her husband promoting up and coming artists through Kolektif509. So in some ways women are steering their visibility, they’re promoting themselves as well as supporting other women, Haitian art and creativity.

Kreyolicious: I’ve interviewed a few people for this site who are painters. A great many of them have mentioned that their parents backed them in their choice. Was that the case with your peeps?

Thankfully so, my parents encouraged me to go to art school when they noticed this passion was dwelling inside of me. My parents instilled in me at a very young age, that following ones passion was one of life’s biggest gifts. There is a particular freedom in following ones passion because there is an underlining joy that is always very present, no matter the challenge.

Having grown up in a creative country, and my playground being my grandmother’s art gallery Rainbow Art Display, and my godmothers—part owner—of an artisan store Fanal. It’s of no surprise that this creative passion was always brewing inside of me. Also, I must mention that both my parents are very creative, and talented in their own rights. The apple did not fall far from the tree.

Kreyolicious: Do you think that when you’re a parent, you’ll have the same reasoning as them if your daughter or son makes the same artistic choice as you?

Absolutely, yes. The reason I will say yes to my children or any child who were to approach me is because I know that by following their passion they will never tire of doing what they must to succeed. Because it’s a fire that can not be turned off, for it is eternal. What I would say to them is that it is a very challenging field, that there are strong ups and down. I would share with them that creativity is a reflection of life, for it is inspired from itself and from energies beyond our own comprehension. It forces one to delve within. You cannot hide from yourself. It is a very vulnerable place, for you are naked—as you are always expressing. However, it is truly worthwhile, for you get to taste life, live life through clear lenses always ready to learn and acquire more knowledge in a state of joy.

Kreyolicious: Have you been to an art event or exhibition that particularly stood out?

At a very early age, my mother would take me to different museums throughout Washington, DC where I would be surrounded by the masters. The same token she would take me to art shows in Haiti where I would be surrounded by Haitian art masters. I had the pleasure of knowing—til this day—many great Haitian artists—so it’s hard to pinpoint an exhibit.

I can say however that the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, where Haiti was featured and that my father Patrick Delatour was one of the curators of truly touched my heart. Haiti, it’s culture, art, music, cuisine was given an opportunity to shine and to take center stage. Surrounded by the museums and in between the Capital building and the Washington Monument. Those three days are one of my fondest memories, and in some ways has played an amazing role in my life’s trajectory.  

Kreyolicious: Are you a dreamer? It seems to come hand in hand with creativity.

I am very much so a dreamer, but at the same time I am also a person who is very grounded and realistic. This can be challenging for they are both very strong components of my personality, and at the same time I am grateful for having both attributes.

Kreyolicious: Out of all your creations, which is the most special to you?

I have a fond connection with most of my pieces. I remember creating a piece called “Mystical Man”. This piece took me three days to create. The reason is because it was a very emotional one for me as its energy and presence was very strong. I remember crying every time I would like at it, when I would step away from the piece to observe it at a distance. It was a very moving and powerful experience, many people who observe that piece have a strong connection to it as well.

Kreyolicious: A girl who has just graduated from high school comes up to you. She hopes to become a painter…someday. She’s seen some of your paintings and asks to pick your brain about her future, the craft of painting, and the business of art. What do you say?

First off, what an honor. Second, I would be as honest as I can based on my own experience’s. I would make sure to let her know that what I would share would be just that, my personal experience and that she would have to create her own. With that said, I would tell her that if she is truly inspired to create that she has a responsibility to herself and to those who she will one day share her work with to do so. I would also tell her, to take business management courses, as I wish I had done so and that they were offered to me at the Corcoran. Truly it is important that an artist knows how to represent herself, her work and knows how to market her work.

I would also tell her, that she needs to not be afraid to understand her rights as an artist, and to stick to her work ethics and principles. Many times people label artists through their misconceptions as irresponsible, unprofessional, and sometimes use words like “crazy”.

I would also express to her as Philippe Dodard expressed to me years ago: “You are to carry yourself as a cultural ambassador of your country, Haiti”. I have always prided myself in having that natural tendency to be professional and to carry myself as such. Being an artist is a very big responsibility for we preserve history, experiences, and some of us even help to communicate prophecies.

Last Updated on November 10, 2023 by kreyolicious

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