Deborah Valcin

🌻 How did you become an artist?

Art is something that’s always been my core. Ever since I could hold a pen, I’ve always been a writer. For me, writing was the heart of how to express myself artistically. But ever since my dad came home with a bulky Panasonic VHS camera when I was 4, I knew I always wanted to tell stories through filmmaking.

Even though filmmaking is my main passion, still photography has always been my second favorite outlet.  I’ve tried my hand at drawing, and have even done theatre from middle school through college, but using a camera was always the medium that gave me the most freedom, and most importantly, the freedom that I liked the most. Writing is my heart and filmmaking is the veins.

My parents aren’t visual artists, but they’re both singers (they met in church choir en plus) and my dad is always encouraging me because he’s fascinated by the technical side of filmmaking.

🌻 Does anyone or anything influence your artwork?

Haiti has always been my main influence. I would always write mystical stories that took place in Haiti because I loved (and still love) fantasy and used my imagination to see Haiti as more than it already was to me. Haiti was my kingdom and in my kingdom, anything could happen. I felt like even the earth was full of some type of magic that couldn’t be found in any other country. I blame my dad for telling me that Haiti was part of the lost continent of Atlantis.

I’ve always been interested in documentary storytelling, especially in college. Carrie Mae Weems, Gordon Parks, and Agnès Varda continue to be a huge inspiration for me in that field. I also love stylized yet dramatic filming because I feel like Haitian culture deserves to be viewed through the lens of vivid colors and dramatic lighting.

So, cinematographers like Vincent Haycock (@vincenthaycock); Production designers like Hannah Beachler, directors like Barry Jenkins (@bandrybarry), Taika Waititi (@taikawaititi), Ingmar Bergman, Wong Kar-wai, and Ava DuVernay (@ava); musicians like Beyonce, Solange, Hozier, serpentwithfeet, and Florence Welch; and instagram artists like Noemie Marguerite (@noemiemarguerite), Nik Antonio (@nik80s) are my top go-to’s. Theatre, books, and Renaissance/Baroque art are also huge sources of inspiration.

🌻 Do you have any training or education in the field of art?

I have a B.A. in Radio, TV, and Film from the University of North Texas with a minor in Creative Writing. I graduated with honors to make my Haitian parents proud! I’m still debating on grad school.

🌻 Do you have any insights or techniques that you employ?

What I notice is that no matter what project I do, I always start out with some type of script. Whether its a short film or a photo-series, in English or Creole, I always have to have a script.

🌻 Do you have any vision or aim for your art?

My main vision is to tell stories about Haitians for Haitians. I want to tell stories of marginalized Haitians and have those stories be seen on an international scale. I want to tell stories as complex, five dimensional, layered, and beautiful as Haiti and the people who proudly call themselves Haitian.

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