His name is Anthony Louis-Jeune, and his talent is very much like a disputed land border: it has no boundaries. A creative entrepreneur, Louis Jeune is passionate about being an illustrator, and he’s also a graphic artist, a painter, a sculptor, and an aspiring hip-hop artist.
Based in Haiti, Louis Jeune started painting in the mid-2000s. He’s literally colorblind, and that has lent a uniqueness to the way he paints, and the way he creates. The artist recalls that the first painting he ever created was inspired by a group of orphans he spotted on the streets of Port-au-Prince.
Now, his unruly imagination has propelled him to create the first Haitian comic book superhero. It’s also inspired him to create paintings like “Nely”, an abstract piece and sculptures with names like “Kosmo”, that show off his versatility as a visual artist.
Were you the type of person to draw on the walls of your parents’ house when you were little?
No, I wasn’t that type. But I would draw on any other surfaces like napkins, piece of wood or on my own skin.
What inspires your art?
It’s inspired by Haitian culture, comic books, my dreams and my personal experiences.
What are the thoughts of your parents when it comes to your being a comic book artist?
They are really positive about it since I am not only a comic book artist or a painter. I also do music. I have a hit with DJ Khaled, produced by Power Surge, and I released my first video on YouTube “Aton Get Down”. I am the first Haitian artist to record a music video in Altos De Chavon. The last artist who ever recorded there was Alicia Keys, performing the video “Karma”.
So you’ve created a Haitian superhero.
I created the superhero because I realized that Haiti needed a character that represents human rights and the kids in Haiti would have a model to look up to.
Tell us about him.
Djatawo is the name of my superhero. His real name is Alfred Apollon. He was choosen to be Djatawo, a demi-god—by Kosmo the guardian of a pyramid found in a deep cave of Pic Macaya, the second highest mountain in Haiti. [These days], he’s devoted himself to protecting the Creole island and humanity from evil. Djatawo possesses the power to teleport himself wherever and whenever he wants. He has super strength. He’s really fast and his senses are seven times better than a regular human.
The superhero’s weakness is darkness.
Does your hero have a love interest, like Mary Jane to Spiderman and Lois Lane to Clark Kent?
Yes. She was born from a tree. Her name is Tanama, which means “butterfly” in the Taino language.
What is the comic strip industry like in Haiti?
The comic industry Haiti is growing up slowly, but surely. Last year, at Livre en Folie [a book festival that takes place in Port-au-Prince], a comic book was a best-seller. People are starting to realize that comics are a part of education and entertainment in society.
Where do you hope to take your career?
I want to take my career, my art, around the world. I want to build an animation company like Pixar or DreamWorks and be well-known as a hip-hop Haitian artist. I want my music to travel through ages and time.
Djatawo, Haiti’s comic book superhero as conceived by Anthony Louis Jeune.
You have a mixed media piece called “Nely”. What inspired it?
This piece was a portrait of a friend.
You also do some sculpting.
My sculptures are characters or objects from my imagination, my world. They are made with plaster, fiberglass and bronze. My teacher is Mark Lineweaver. My latest sculptures is “Kosmo”. He’s the guardian of Djatawo, the superhero character’s pyramid. His helmet is made of bronze. And I have another sculpture made with fiberglass, “The Red Scarf Curse”. It’s a magical scarf that I created for my comic book. I was inspired by the red scarf of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the leader of the Haitian Revolution and the first ruler of an independent Haiti under the 1801 constitution.
You’re a sculptor, a mixed media artist, a comic book artist, a musical artist, a graphic artist, a comic book artist and you paint and sketch. How do you find a balance between all these forms?
I find balance by connecting their concept and choose which form of art is more important at the moment.
What are some of the important points that you’ve learned over the course of your career that you would like to pass on to others wishing to take the same path?
Follow your dreams. Fight for them to come true—because they will come true—if you are determined, passionate, patient and organized.
Connect with Anthony Louis Jean-Jeune on Facebook and learn more about him HERE.
Haiti’s got talent, baby! Please CLICK HERE to read other articles about other talented folks emerging out of Haiti.