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Patrica Brintle | Artist Interview

Category: Artist Interviews

It is a pleasure to be able to give you an nsight into the thoughts of member artist, Patricia Brintle.

Self-taught artist Patricia Brintle was born and raised in Haiti and immigrated to the United States in 1964. Although she has made the US her residence, her colorful style reflects her native land. Her approach to painting is varied and reflects her feelings at the moment. Brintle’s work is influenced both by personal and social experiences. Most of her portraits focus on the expression of the eyes and tell in one look the story of the person on the canvas.

She favors bright, vivid and vibrant colors and uses much symbolism in her work. Her medium is as varied as her subjects but she prefers acrylics because of its diversity. Her works on the Holocaust are on permanent display at the Holocaust Center of Temple Judea in New York and are used as a teaching tool for visitors. Her religious work, The First Mother, travelled with the Black Madonna Exhibit which made its debut at the famed National Museum of Catholic Art and History in New York and toured museums throughout the United States. Brintle’s work on nuclear disarmament, A Delicate Balance, won the “Images of Peace” national competition to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Albert Schweitzer’s call for nuclear disarmament and hangs in permanence at the Albert Schweitzer Institute in Hamden , Connecticut. Her seascape Voiliers au Port a Bainet graced the cover of Sea History Magazine; her religious artwork Last Breath is on the cover of “Christianity and Human rights” by Cambridge Press; and Mary’s Assumption and Virgo Virginum illustrates “Give us This Day” by Liturgical Press.

Brintle is a member of the United Haitian Artists and the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition. She exhibits in New York, Florida, Connecticut, Illinois and California. She is represented by Agora Gallery in Chelsea NY, Medalia Gallery in NY, Nader Haitian Art in NY, Artists Haven Gallery in FL, Gallore Gallery in CT, Nicole Gallery in Chicago and the Bridgeman Art Library in London, UK.

David Field: When did you first realize you wanted to be an artist?

Patricia Brintle: I cannot remember a time when I did not want to draw or paint so creating art has always been part of my life. I was born and raised in Haiti and lived most of my childhood in the provinces. Paint was not readily available and drawing comprised most of my art work. I immigrated to the US in the 60’s and continued to work selling to friends and acquaintances. In January 2006, however, I decided to have a show call “Four Decades” where artworks spanning 40 years were exhibited to the public. It was extremely successful and it launched my public artistic career.

DF: If you could describe your work with one sentence, what would it be?

PB: The vivid colors of my work stimulate and invigorate the senses yet the subject matter draws the viewer’s heart to serene and peaceful places.

DF: Can you tell me how your art style has changed, if at all, over the years?

PB: My style follows my emotions and changes with my experiences at the time. Sad periods of my life resulted in darker paintings yet when those obstacles are surmounted, the vivacity returns to my brush strokes. Because I am travelling back to Haiti so often for the past few years, my landscapes today reflect my travels and represent actual places in Haiti. Over the years, however, I have enjoyed experimenting with various mediums and today I seem to be settling on a rather textured canvas.

DF: What projects are you working on now?

PB: I am the president of a non-profit charity called From Here to Haiti. We repair non-governmental buildings in Haiti that were damaged by the earthquake of 2010 or by age. Most of our requests come from churches in the provinces and I am actively searching and training artists from those localities to paint murals in their village church.

DF: Choose one piece of your art and give me a critique.

PB: “A New Dawn Rising” 24X24 – Acrylic on masonite --- The ravages of war can sometimes be subtle when they reside in the heart of children. Because of their resiliency, children will not always show the depth of their pain. This painting seeks to evoke this subtlety by its symbolisms. The children stand atop a mountain facing toward the rise of a new dawn, full of hope in their destiny, trusting that safety and good fortune is in their future. They each stand alone yet holding each other in solidarity to show the togetherness of their condition. Behind them, they leave the darkness of destruction and the barely noticeable reddish flowers in the foreground, a symbol of the bloody devastation of war that seems hidden from most of the world.

A New Dawn Rising 2008 - Acrylic on Masonite

DF: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

PB: My inspiration comes from Haiti. This is where my muse resides and where I go the moment I pick up the brush. The mountains, valleys, the sea, the music… they all come together and guide my heart as I create.

DF: What was the last show you participated in?

PB: Harlem Fine Art Show at the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, GA.

DF: Who is your favorite living artist and why?

PB: Laura James, because her works are so captivating, telling a story with simplicity, color and vibrancy.

Laura James | The Red Bat - 2007 Acrylic on canvas 36” x 49″

DF: Do you collect other people’s art, if so, who?

PB: Yes, I do. I collect Jean Claude Legagneur, Claude Dambreville, of course Laura James, and others.

DF: If you had to display 3 works of art in your home forever more, what would they be, including your own?

PB: I would display:
1) “St. Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy” by Caravaggio because of the peace it inspires and the wonderful chiaroscuro technique.
2) “Self Portrait as Frida Kahlo” by Laura James because of the ingenious mingling of her personality with that of Kahlo both in design and color.
3) “Angels in the Garden” by me, because it shows hope for Haiti in the midst of the tragic earthquake of 2010.

Caravaggio | St. Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy - Oil on Canvas 1594

DF: Do you make a living from your art?

PB: Yes - although it’s not always easy – but when one does what one loves, it’s all worth it.

DF: What is the first artwork you ever sold? How much did you sell it for?

PB: I sold a portrait of a Taino girl back in the 70’s and I believe I received $70 for it. The collector still raves about it.

DF: What is the last artwork you ever sold?

PB: I sold “Madonna with the viper – After Caravaggio” for $6,500.

Madonna and Child with the Viper - 52" x 62" Acrylic on Canvas - 2013

DF: What annoys you most about the art world?

PB: The unpredictability and volatility of the art market.

DF: What is the best thing about being an artist?

PB: Working everyday doing something I totally love. I am at peace when I paint, yet at the same time, feel the excitement of creating something new. I feel fortunate that the painting I am creating will one day be part of someone else life and that gives me a special connection with the world.

DF: Lastly, anything else you would like to say?

PB: I would like to be the best human being I can be, grateful for God’s gifts, happy, gentle, honest, accepting of myself and others. Creating art helps me live that simple philosophy.

Patricia was interviewed in October 2016.

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