Artist Profile- Winzor Gouin
Winzor Gouin has achieved acclaim and great success with his chosen profession as an artist. Born in 1970 in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petion-Ville, he began his training with the encouragement of his mother, who introduced him to Hubert Bernard. Bernard took him on as an apprentice. It was an eye-opening experience for the teenager. Winzor remembers, “In the beginning, it was not easy because you hammer in using a chisel in your hand and you are between the anvil and the hammer. It is very dangerous work, but the main thing is to learn it. I knew it was necessary because I saw in advance that I could earn my life through it. I spent a great number of time learning in Hubert Bernard’s shop.”
A dedicated student of both metal craft and academics, Winzor continued to go to school while training in the workshop. He realized early on that learning English would help him to build his reputation and ply his trade on an international level. And so it did. When he began working with Casey Riddell of It's Cactus, he was ahead of the game, both in terms of his skill and because of the ease of communication. Says Casey, “He is great to work with because he is so creative and we can brainstorm on designs together. I can place an order and know that he’s got a clear idea of what we want. It’s a luxury to be able to communicate on this level with him.”
In turn, Winzor appreciates the opportunities that his partnership with It's Cactus has given him. “In the past time, I would exhibit my work with other artists in a shop, but with the coming of Casey, there is great improvement in the dealing of metal sculpture. She works very hard to improve the artists’ situations and help them survive. Every time we get orders, we can help ourselves to earn our life.”
In 2008, Winzor received sponsorship from It's Cactus to participate in the Santa Fe International Art Market. He recalls, “It was a great experience for me. I had a dream to leave Haiti and show my work in a foreign country one day. I always work hard and I want to be a famous artist. This makes a good step in that way. I met so many people and they liked my work. It was a very exciting time that I feel so grateful to be able to do it.”
Fair trade isn't just a good idea - its the way we do business.
We offer a hand up, not a hand out to our artist partners in Haiti. Each sale of their metal sculptures represents a positive step toward a better life.
The center of Haitian metal sculpture is the village of Croix-des-Bouquets, where the clanging sound of hammers striking chisels is a constant music. To begin, the artist chalks his design onto the metal. Chisels, dies and a large hammer are used to cut and shape the piece, giving it form and texture. When the highly intricate and physically demanding work is complete and the artist is satisfied with his work, he signs his name boldly with a small chisel and applies a clear, weather-proof coating. The result is a wonderful, fair trade piece of handcrafted art.
This metal sculpture is meant for display indoors or out, but if you choose to display yours outside, be aware that the protective, weather-proof coating will wear off over time. To keep your sculpture looking just like it did the day you bought it, take five minutes once a year to apply a spray-on clear enamel coating.
A few nails and a hammer are all you'll need to hang your sculpture. Look for a place where the design is joined or notched and put the first nail there. Use a second and possibly a third nail, if the piece is large, in other joined or notched design elements within the sculpture to straighten and secure it to the wall. The nails will "disappear" with the piece. Simple as that.
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