Sophia Domeville's passion of giving back to the community granted her an opportunity to become mentor and founding member for a non-profit organization, herDIVASpot, a non-profit entity that promotes the value and self development of school aged young ladies.
Because of her countless efforts within the community as a Haitian-American artist, Domeville has received the prestigious nomination for The Black Street Award within the arts category as an artist who has made a major impact.
Domeville has also been spotlighted on PIX11 Morning news, announced as August 2012 Bel Ti Fi of the month for the Bel Ti Fi organization, featured in Amour Creole Magazine’s Fall issue, spotlighted on the Newspitter blog site for her inspiration and passion and showcased within numerous other media platforms.
Recently Ms. Domeville returned from a trip to Haiti where she was being sponsored as a teaching artist for “Art Day Celebration,” a program which cultivates and empowers impoverished and underprivileged children through the arts in Haiti where she taught 150 children from three different orphanages about the power of art.
Her work was so well received that the “Art Day Celebration” committee has asked Ms. Domeville to continue working with the organization on various projects and redevelop the art workshop in Haiti.
As an artist, Sophia has done live painting shows working with numerous nonprofit organizations within Sounds of Brazil, The State Room, Santos, Jade Eatery & Lounge, Liberty Theater, Toro Lounge, Caribbean Heritage Arts Preservation Society in Philadelphia, La Caye Gallery and more!.
Her most recent work can be viewed at John Jay College Art Gallery in New York.
HB had the opportunity to a chat with Ms. Domeville:
HB-How you would describe yourself? Your work? Your vision?
SD- I would describe myself as woman ready to change the world through the power of art. My art is a combination of raw emotions, thoughts, hope, love and creativity spilled out onto a canvas in various bright colors as abstract art. I view myself as an Abstract Expressionist, an artist whose work is both nonrepresentational and mostly improvisational. An artist whose sole passion is to create work without any boundaries, formats, rules or order. Expression of self for the sole purpose to create change within the world through the power of art. My inspiration comes from discussing my experience at age 28 when I finally decided to pursue my passion back into the Arts after 8 years, discovering myself, falling in love for the first time, losing my home, not working for a long period of time, the fear of not having financial stability and understanding my purpose as an Artist.
My vision is to change the world through use of art and mentoring the next generation of future leaders and is a driving force behind my outreach efforts. Maya Angelou is quoted as saying, “Dare to let your dreams reach beyond you.” This quote has always been a mantra with everything and everyone I meet on a daily basis. Through my work, I hope to inspire everyone to do what they love in whatever field they may choose and live with passion, purpose, faith and drive.
HB-Let's go back a little bit, get a little of your history in general. I know it is a lot of ground to cover, but can you pinpoint something of a real beginning of when you knew you were going to be a painter? Was it a slow discovery, or was there a real "aha!" moment?
SD- I started painting when I was 5 years old. First it started with my obsession of drawing on ALL of the walls within my home. In kindergarten, I was introduced to water colors and remember creating my first art work. I specifically remembered mixing colors just to get the right shade of green for the leaves on my tree, adding orange to the yellow of the sun and a dash of white to the sky.
I didn’t realize it was something I loved until my freshmen year in high school within Mrs. Whitney Art class. While all of the other students were drawing geometric, I was experimenting with contrasting shades in adding depth to my shapes. I personally didn’t think anything of it but my art teacher Mrs. Whitney noticed. She suggested I pursue I switch my major from English to Art. Funny thing, at first writing was my passion; I created short stories since elementary school but would bind my own handmade books with ribbon and draw an elaborate illustration as the book cover. There I took Advanced Art for the next 3 years in High School.
Honestly, this truly became my passion when I entered my first year within The College of New Rochelle, School of Arts & Science. Being away from my dad, having the room to just be myself without any restrictions, being advised by one of the best art department I know and just create into wee hours of the morning, helped carve out my craft immensely. I actually still remember drawing on 6ft by 6ft parchment within the halls of dorm, feverishly creating the images that were in my head…. The title of my piece was, “Black Skin, White Mask”, at 18 I was discussing racism, sexism and the masks we as a people wore on a daily basis just to survive within this world.
HB-Most folks credit a person or group of people for their success, what helped you to become the woman, artist, and entrepreneur that you are today?
SD- I have a very strong foundation of close friends, family and more whom have supported me since day ONE. I am very lucky to meet and connect with the right people at the time right time.
HB-You have been described as someone who is changing the face of Haitian culture. What does that mean to you? What about the Haitian culture you are looking to change? Why?
SD- It means so much to me to know that I am viewed as a woman who is changing the face of Haitian culture. Since the age of 18, I learned in my early career as a female artist, the essence of how to survive with the minimal, how to have a strong drive to proceed through adversity and to be proud of where I come from. Being a female Haitian American Artist and having a desire to achieve while working in a male dominated field has forced me to stand firmly in my own skin. My goal through my work is to erase the blurred lines of the idea that women do not have a voice and we are not allowed to be human. I am becoming a trailblazer, independent from the conventional thought and traditional notions. Because of my Haitian culture, I became a woman who faces adversity, champions change within her community and who is driven by passion to consistently pursue her dreams.
HB-Which Haitian artists have you worked with or admire?
I have yet to have the opportunity to work with a Haitian artist and am open to possibilities to collaborate with fellow artists in the future.
HB-What is one lesson you have learned from your family (parents)? How has that guided you to this path?
SD- Though my parents were very much against my decision to pursue art, the one important lesson I had learned was to keep pushing. I never once backed down from a challenge and trusted my instincts with everything in my life. This drive has greatly guided me through inner turmoil, disagreements with members of my family who were unsure of my decisions and inspired my siblings to do the same.
HB-What do you do in your spare time? What was the last book you read? What book are you reading now?