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Olivier SOUFFRANT

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BIOGRAPHY

Throughout his work, Souffrant is referencing African American masters such as Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and Jean-Michel Basquiat and also European painters like Botticelli, Van Gogh, and Picasso. He witnesses the coup d’état of 2004 and later the earthquake of 2010. Therefore, with his Haitian background and his lack of resources, Souffrant uses everyday materials such as magazines, online publications, computers, and mobile phone to create his paintings.

Souffrant applies digital ways to render the collage technique by using photoshop where repeatedly he cuts and pastes images, by scanning images from magazines or using free-source images from the internet, he creates a new and fresh image translated into a 2-dimensional object. These images are printed either on canvas or on aluminum panels, treated as an underpainting where the artists repaint them with acrylic and oil paint. With these techniques, Souffrant is bringing up ideas such as the over-saturation of our society with instant images and their appropriation use. His work explores the depths of emotional and physical interiors through the layering of paint and images culled from social media.

 

Born in Port-au-Prince in 1994, Olivier Jean-Daniel Souffrant lives and works in New York City. Souffrant left Haiti for the United States following an earthquake that nearly cost him his life. He found himself in Chicago at 15 years old where he discovered a way to create with very limited means. Souffrant quickly mastered Photoshop and printing techniques to produce at a low cost and let his creativity flow continuously through days and nights.

Souffrant’s work is a combination of painting, printing and collage which displays the uprooting, resilience, and dedication of a young man who, once settled in Chicago, had to go through the troubles of living in the hood – a fate that many immigrants encounter when entering such a country filled with false hopes.

Known for his intense subject matter and brutish handling of materials; Souffrant references African-American artists such as Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Jean-Michel Basquiat and European painters like Boticelli, Van Gogh and Picasso. Souffrant uses existing digital imagery in his collages to create an entirely new image that tells a story.

Digital art’s constant depreciation compared to traditional painting’s sacredness has noticeably brought Souffrant to go against the flow and in a way, create his own genre.

For years, the artist has been expanding his own colossal image bank filled with magazine spreads, ad campaigns, screen captures, and other pictures he found on the internet. Souffrant often applies hundreds of layers through photoshop. These preexisting visual fragments then become inseparable from the overall pieces’ elements in front of our eyes.

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