Born in Haiti, artist Craig Carl moved to New York with his family at the age of 15. He served honorably in the U.S. Air Force for more than five years. He pursued a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance and International Business at Florida International University. After a successful career in the financial markets for 16 years, Carl ended his vocation on “Wall Street” as a Senior Financial Consultant at Merryl Lynch and decided to apply his experience and acumen in international consulting.
Despite his successes in the financial markets and as an international consultant, Carl chose to walk away from all the power and structure to satisfy his thirst for creativity by unleashing his talent in the arts: painting, photography, and music. As a self-taught artist, he brilliantly and skillfully captures the beauty that is embedded in Haitian culture. In 2015 and 2016, Carl was the semi-finalist in the yearly national contest organized by the Bombay Sapphire, The Artisans Series. Carl is internationally celebrated and has exhibited his works in Mexico by special invitation from Haitian Ambassador in Mexico City. Carl’s admirers consider him as one of the best Haitian Portrait artists of our generation and we were glad to get a personal with the renowned artist to learn more about who he is and what inspires his work.
Hy-Lo News: Did you always want to be an artist? If not, what did you want to be when you were growing up?
Carl Craig: Most definitely, ever since I started to play with art media and materials at about nine years old. I increasingly knew that the arts would be part of my future.
HLN: What is your daily art-making routine?
CC: I usually address any promotional or marketing issues before I start planning and executing the actual work on the canvas.
HLN: What images or things keep you company in the space where you work?
CC: First and foremost, MUSIC. Lots of fine arts books. Items from Haiti, Cuba, and of my immediate family, as a constant reminder of my background and environment.
HLN: How would you describe your style?
CC: “Symbolic expressionism,” as described by the Haitian Master, Herve Lebreton. My style is mostly inspired by the facial expressions and postures of women and symbolic events.
HLN: How has your artistic process changed over time?
CC: I continuously strive to improve the basics, such as drawing skills, to maintain better proportion and perspective, skin tones, under various lighting situations while respecting other undeniable basic issues of fine arts.
HLN: In reflecting on the beginning of your career, what is the most useful advice you ever received?
CC: To be conscious, at all times, of the effects of light and distance on ANY subject in my environment…..advice from the Haitian Master, Nehemy Jean.
HLN: Why is it important that communities support an event like Art Africa Miami?
CC: Artists are yearning to share their inspiration. In Art Africa Miami, we have found a home with a unique foundation, doors, and perspective on the Motherland that are enticing.
HLN: What is your favorite quote?
CC: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for” John A. Shedd.
HLN: What’s next for you?
CC: FineArtsByCarl to grow within a unique partnership and brand created by my wife and me, to stay true to my Artist Statement: “My aspiration is to expose the mystery, humility, intrigue, and exoticism of the Haitian culture through my art. The ultimate joy is to share my works with an “intercultural” audience.”