Today we’d like to introduce you to Nathaly Merine.
Nathaly, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My fascination with art grew when I was in middle school. I loved reading manga’s and soon began to wonder how my favorite characters were drawn. How the illustrator was able to perfect the character’s faces into a pointy yet fluffy shape with enormous eyes. I wanted to learn how to draw them.
I needed to learn how to draw them. I started checking out drawing books from the school’s library, doing the exercises while learning the fundamentals of drawing; and eventually would draw the manga’s I read. I loved the feeling that drawing gave me. The feeling was euphoric. When I picked up a 2h or 3B graphite pencil and stroked it against my worn sketchbook, the entire world melted away and all that was left were me and my creations. My imagination gave me a world where I could escape from the stress of taking exams or being bored.
After I got to high school, my desire to create art grew less and less as I became more focused on other extracurricular activities. It wasn’t until I attended the University of South Florida that I became more serious about my artwork through my painting, woodshop and even my sculpture classes. At first, I was hesitant. Being Haitian-American, my career goals (per my parents) were doctor, lawyer, or engineer; and though my parents knew I didn’t want either of those career paths, they heavily pushed nursing. Thankfully, one of my older brothers, John, (who has always supported and encouraged my craft) forced me to sit down and research careers that were possible if I perused a Fine Arts Degree.
Though I didn’t get the Fine Arts degree, it opened my eyes to how much this talent and this gift meant to me and meant to the world. I had so much to say through my art that it became a part of my everyday life. Following God’s plan for my life and as much as I derive from it from time to time, it always leads me back to this skill that He placed inside of me. I began to create art that I found were meaningful with either a story behind it or a masterpiece that brings joy and happiness into the hearts of the audience. Thankfully, I have had one solo exhibition (Evolution) in February 2017, a solo art show (She is ART) in December 2017, and was recently apart of a group show (CREATE Art Show curated by artist P. Smith) in February 2020.
As I grow more into who I am called to be, my art grows with me; and for that I am thankful. I now know that my calling as a Haitian-American woman is to use the gift that God has given me to bring strength, joy, unity, pride, and love into my audience through my experiences and through the truth that I witness in life about my culture. I will always strive to express myself through which the world may benefit.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has definitely not been smooth. With any skill or talent, it takes time, patience, and practice to perfect your craft. Though I do not believe I have mastered my craft, I do believe that every stroke of paint placed on the canvas brings me one step closer to being greater than the artist I was the day before.
There have been times where I’ve given up over frustration and fatigue. Times were I felt defeated or that the image in my head was not replicating on canvas properly and that no one will understand the ‘message’, if any. One of the biggest struggles have always been fear. Fear of rejection, fear of transparency, fear of not being worthy of an audience.
When I reach that point, I take a step back and breathe. Just breathe. Thankfully during those crucial times, my sister Sophia is always there to encourage me and remind me of why I am an artist. There are times where I need to let a half-finished painting sit for days, weeks or maybe even months while I collect myself. While I figure out why I got to this point and how to move forward. I’ve had moments where I’ve completely changed what I thought was a ‘finished’ product after reflecting and gaining understanding about what I am creating.
One valuable lesson I’ve learned through all of my struggles is that people will see your worth the way you portray your worth. I had to learn that the hard way multiple times. That my art is worth more than some change at the bottom of a worn jeans pocket. Worth more than a mere thought, and instead a dialog evoking emotion and passion.
Please tell us more about your art.
I am a Haitian-American visual artist and I go by Merineart. I believe that my artwork can best be described as a modern take on Fauvism, depicting painterly qualities with the use of strong colors to allow them to exist on the canvas as an independent element. My go-to medium is acrylic paint, though I have also created mixed media, woodwork and sculptural pieces in the past.
I create paintings and drawings for my clients. When I am not focused on a custom piece, I often create a body of work centered around a particular subject, meaning or message.
I am set apart by my style of painting, who I am as an artist and my love for art. Being a small business owner, my artwork is independently created and not mass-produced which gives my clients a unique work of art that illustrates unmatched value.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
My plans for the future is to grow my art business, Merineart. My hopes are to one day own a gallery or studio where I am able to hold art classes for the community youth, providing them with guidance to enhance their talent and hopefully help to prevent them from making some of the mistakes that I have made.
I plan on creating a platform for more Haitian/Haitian-American female visual artists to unapologetically use their craft to heal, learn, and grow from within. I am looking forward to hosting a show later on this year centered around Haitian women and their role in the family, society, and in each other’s lives. Stay tuned, greatness is coming!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instragram: merineart