She owned the hallways. Her confident and to some, intimidating presence accompanied by her full, long and thick hair and dreamy voluptuous figure could be felt and respected all over Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Queens, New York. Bianca Belve from then has always in some way, shape or form was a force to be reckoned with.
I had the pleasure of running into one of my HS "play"cousins (you know when you are super close with someone or have the same physical attributes as a friendly acquaintance in our community they become 'FamLay') recently during a quick in between jobs lunch at Friday's.
Excitingly catching up with one another, especially on us embarking on our hobby turned professional careers to my surprise, she was now Bianca the artist, a painter! I was left speechless as she showed me pictures of her work and I knew we HAD to #jumpinthecab avec mon amie.
Check out this candid and awe inspiring interview as I display not only the masterpiece that is her art, but, her life. Ladies and Gentlemen...Mademoiselle Belve.
WHAT IS YOUR NATIONALITY?
WHERE ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
Queens, New York & I still live in Queens.
DESCRIBE YOUR CHILDHOOD (RELATIONSHIPS WITH YOUR PARENTS, YOUR SCHOOLING, YOUR DREAMS AND ASPIRATIONS AT THE TIME ETC, FRIENDS ETC.)
I am an only child so being alone has always been something that I used to. Since I can remember my mother has always been a huge support system, she always kept me busy while placing me into all types of dance classes and sports. Our relationship has always been special, since I can remember till today she is my absolute best friend and number one supporter. When I was younger, I wanted to play basketball and when I broke my ankle that dream sadly enough was shattered. I did continue to stay active, although I couldn't play basketball I joined the track team to strengthen my leg, cheerleading it was all a great fun in high school. All of the people that I surround myself with are friends that I have had forever, I can go back all the way to the 3rd grade and we are very close still till this very day.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO HAITI?
Yes. I haven't been to Haiti in a couple of years, but I can say I loved it when I did visit and hope to return very soon.
WHAT MADE YOU START YOUR ARTISTRY? AND WHY PAINTING IN PARTICULAR?
I was always interested in art coming from an artistic family where some make music, others paint I honestly think it runs in my blood. I decided to take a class and all we did was paint, listen to soft music and drink wine. It was such a great time and from that day on I continued to paint. I enjoyed how calming and therapeutic it was and still is for me till today.
DESCRIBE A TIME OF TURMOIL THAT YOU WENT THROUGH THAT CHANGED YOUR FOR THE BETTER
My relationship with my father was basically non-existent and it took a really huge burden on me while growing up, my mission was to speak to him and build a relationship. I decided to reach out a couple of years ago and we did meet however, no relationship was build I guess he didn't feel the same way as I did. "Every little girl needs her daddy" When I realized that we would never have that bond that I yearned for, yes it hurt, but, with time I allowed myself to continue to be great after all it really is his loss. This has changed me for the better because with or without him in my life I will be successful.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT ESTABLISHING YOUR SELF AS AN ARTIST?
The hardest thing would have to be getting people to take you seriously everyone does something and not everyone is serious and sometimes it's hard to distinguish the two. However, being that I have over 90 pieces in 6 months should set me aside from many.
WHAT WAS THE EXPERIENCE OF YOUR FIRST SALE OF A PAINTING, HOW DID IT GO DOWN?
I recently sold my first piece and it happened because I was emotionally attached to it, being that it was made for someone I use to date. However, I decided to part with it and some other pieces and it was the first to go. It was a very nice experience, very humbling and the words of encouragement from the buyer who is also a very good friend made the experience very sweet.
WERE THERE NEY-SAYERS WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED YOUR JOURNEY? AND WHAT IS THERE OPINION NOW?
Yes, of course anytime you want to do something to better yourself there always seems to be people who think you can't do it and you’re wasting your time. I never fed into the idea of not making my dreams reality EVER since I was young so it would be tough to really discourage me. Now that I have been exposing myself more and getting more exposure I don't think they have any choice but to respect it. Basically, I am living proof that if you want something bad enough you have to work hard and eventually you will be recognized for your work.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMAN SUFFERING FROM A SERIOUS BREAKUP?
I would simply say I know it hurts, it hurts to have to leave someone you put time, energy and love in but you have to leave with a smile because god really makes no mistakes he doesn't put people in situations they can't handle and this too is a learning lesson. It's ok to hurt just don't let it consume you write it down in a journal, cry it out and 6 months or even a year from now go back and I promise you will ask yourself what in the world was I thinking.
AFTER YOU FINISH A PAINTING HOW DO YOU FEEL?
After I finish painting I feel almost empty I try to put my feelings and emotions in every painting, so if I'm hurt before I paint I won't be hurting after.
HOW DO YOU FEEL PROUD AND CONNECTED TO YOUR HAITIAN CULTURE?
I love being Haitian! I really do, from the culture, the language and the food, ohhhh my, if you have never had Haitian food your truly cheating yourself. I wear my Haitian flag proudly everyday letting everyone know that I am Haitian and my family, both my mother and father’s side have built a name for themselves in the Haitian community, I myself must live up to. When I last visited Haiti I saw many things but, one I will never forget was all the paintings on the street from all these talented young, old artist and they paint beautifully. This alone symbolizes more than most can grasp an artist paints either what they see or how they feel and every single painting have a history, had life and had a culture within them. So I ask what is there no to love?
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO PAINT?
I mostly paint upon emotion so I listen to music and go off into my own world with colours that represent how I feel or what I'm missing, this allows me to also create something I'm missing.
TAKE US THROUGH YOUR PROCESS WHEN YOU START A PIECE.
When I start a piece the first thing I do is to rub on the canvas with both hands to get the feel of what I am about to create. I then decide if I will be drawing first or just using paint. I start off small and move my way around the canvas. Sometimes I flip the canvas over and over to see exactly what I may be creating and I just let the brush flow.
IF YOU HAD TO DO A CUSTOM PIECE FOR A SPECIFIC CLIENT, WHAT WOULD YOU NEED TO KNOW OR FEEL OR SEE FROM YOUR CLIENT?
I would ask for a story and through that story I could put my spin on it and create something I feel would connect to their emotion.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE THAT YOU HAVE DONE? AND WHY?
It would have to be my very first piece that I did on my own, it's a mother and newborn baby, and it is my favourite because it reminds me of my mother and me. It's beautiful, it's peaceful and I truly believe it is us.
WHO IS SOMEONE THAT YOU ADMIRE/LOOK UP TOO IN YOUR INDUSTRY/FIELD?
I am still learning about artists and getting familiarized with the industry, however, Claude Monet has a piece at Moma in NYC. It's huge first of all and it took a while to let it all sink in but, it's fantastic, it's called “Water Lillie's” and it's the reflection of the shadow in the water. My goodness, such amazing work and it has been influential to me as a new artist.
IN ONE WORD DESCRIBE BIANCA THE PAINTER