International Caribbean Art Fair (ICAFair)

Haitian-Chinese Artist Essud Fungcap Revealed

By Youme Landowne

Posted: November 3, 2009

Essud Fungcap

Essud Fungcap,Untitled Courtesy: Fungap Arts

You are able to communicate the vibrancy of light and air as it touches and becomes part of every object. A cello becomes a house, a leaf becomes smoke, one person is clearly part of another. Some would say an awareness of this interdependence is what is lacking in the world. You say, "A life without art would bring despair, but art without the life it seeks to represent would be unbearable."


Q: Do you experience, in your working life as an artist, the balance of elements that your canvases depict? We see a world full of music, communication and even in the face of turbulence, we see calm. How do you see your life reflected through your canvases?


I believe that, in each and every individual in this world resides a strong desire to balance all elements of that particular existence. And as we all grow spiritually and older, the need arises to integrate, inject, infuse, reject, cherish and love what surrounds us. That is the reason why a penetration of ideas and subjects is important to me in order to be inspired.


Q: Your background contains the world. Your father came to Haiti from China where he met your Haitian mother. You were named Essud, east for your father's country and south for your mother's country. You now reside in Georgia. How do these three locations influence your perspective on your own work?


That may seem strange to most, but I have always considered myself to be a true citizen of the world. Living in different places and being exposed to various cultures shaped my sensitivity, my creativity, and my view of things around me. And my art obviously shows that universality and wholeness.


Q: Who were some of the significant people who guided you to become the painter you are?


I was fortunate to have the opportunity to live next door to the “Foyer des Arts Plastiques,” a well-known art center in Port-au-Prince at the time. I was just five years old. My brother Yves, Cédor, Nehemy Jean, Gourgues, Odilon Duperier, Spencer Depas, Exume, La Pierre, Wimino Domond, Lazard and later, Edouard and Bernard Wah, helped shape my desire to become a true artist. The many visits to museums, art galleries, as well as the intense study of European and Chinese masters contributed to my formation academically.


Q: What challenges did you face, or are you facing, in/with the art world and the world in general?


Right now the market has gone soft for many galleries and art dealers, affecting all of us in the industry. Promoting ethnic art has always been a challenge for me and many established artists whose works fall in this category. Even though I've had good and bad results in the past 15 years exhibiting at art expos and art fairs, I still believe that good exposure and advertisement are key strategies.


Q: What connection do you have with other Caribbean artists as a community?


I know lots of Haitian, Latino, and African American artists. We do talk once in a while and keep close contact when there is an event being planned. As for a “community of artists,” unfortunately I don’t think it exists. Nevertheless, I think it is imperative we start nourishing the idea of forming some community.


Q: For many artists, painting is an emotional and spiritual practice which sometimes stands in contrast with marketing and promotion. I am thinking of the alternating internal and external focus required. What can you share with our readers regarding the practice of being a working artist?


Undertaking anything in life requires knowledge and material resources. I would recommend first to always consult with experts in the field of art marketing if you cannot do it yourself. Remember, the industry is and will change course with so many European, Asian, and Latino arts being introduced in this country (USA). So keep up with the good work and be yourself.


Q: What would you tell an emerging artist?


Study hard and believe in what you are doing.


Q: What was the turning point for you from being a young person who liked to draw and a professional artist?


By the mid 1980’s the call for a transformation was obvious. And I will not ignore the fact, that this sudden transition, long awaited, has sparked in me the messenger and creator of harmony that I have always wanted to be and admired by all. Art has always been part of my soul since I was born.


Q: Regarding the possibility of art existing "without the life it seeks to represent," are you referring to mass produced, or commercial art?


Well, with all due respect to those in the business, I need to be fair by not elaborating much and let the mind wonder.


Q: Who are you paying attention to these days?


At this time I am keeping myself busy and not paying much attention to who is doing what.


Q: What artists, collectors, gallery owners, critics would you like to see interviewed in these pages?


I would suggest those residing on the islands first, and then leave the door open to anyone or organizations willing to help in the process.


Q: When you close your eyes, what is the first painting that comes to mind? Is it your own? Can you describe it?


Well, don’t you think it would be self-defeating to deny myself a good pat on the back first and always? My own of course! I do value every piece that I create, and believe that my art is of value to the collectors who collect them.


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