Artist from Haiti ( 17 Dec 1968 - )
Frantz Zephirin was born in Cap Haitien, Haiti on December 17, 1968. By his reckoning, he is the 24th of 48 children sired by his architect father (with 19 different women). As a toddler he sat and watched his uncle, the Haitiain painter Antoine Obin, as he worked. By the age of 7, Frantz was filching paint in bottlecaps to do his own paintings. Within a year he was selling paintings to the tourists from cruise ships that docked in Le Cap in those days. By age thirteen, lying about his age, he was selling work to galleries.
Eventually he moved to Port-au-Prince and became associated with the Galerie Monnin. His style is unique among the painters of the Northern School. He describes himself as a 'Historic Animalist'. He is entirely self-taught. Unlike many Haitian painters, he usually titles his paintings.
Zephirin counts among his influences Leonardo daVinci, James Darwin and the Lost Continent of Atlantis. His work is shown internationally. In October 1996 he was awarded the Gold medal in the Third Bienal of Caribbean and Central American Painting sponsored by The Museum of Modern Art of the Dominican Republic. This competition featured 144 artists from 37 countries in the region. He was one of 5 Haitians to be included in the V Bienal in Cuenca, Ecuador in 1996. Two of his paintings are featured in the wonderful show Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou that toured the USA in 1997 and 1998. One of his paintings illustrates the cover of The Immaculate Invasion by Bob Shacochis (New York: Viking, 1999).
Since the earthquake, Zephirin has been living in Key West, Florida, but he travels extensively. In the United States, he travels exclusively by Greyhound Bus, using the time to read and ruminate on his art.
[Biographic notes from Galerie Macondo.]
Selected Frantz Zephirin links: