Eddy Martelly

 

I was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and remember my childhood as magical—back then Haiti was a beautiful, prosperous country and as children we were free to wander.  Most memorable were all day excursions to the beaches and mountains where people still lived primitively- no electricity, story-telling by candle-light—all in the beautiful surroundings of swimming holes and sugar cane fields. Then Papa Doc became president and everything changed—Peasants invaded the city along with Duvalier’s private army, the Tonton Macoute, and wreaked havoc on the upper and middle classes. Anyone who opposed Duvalier during this campaign became a target, such as my own father who with support from neighbors stood up to rioting mobs for two nights.  I remember me and my older brother barricaded and armed with Molotov cocktails and guns ready to burn and die while my other brother and sister were scurried to neighbors to be passed off as their children. Fortunately we survived the onslaught.  But days after the police would show up and take my father away for questioning.  He would always come back --though his face was puffed from beatings.  Soon after this event were resettled to Brooklyn, NY.  We arrived in winter and my whole world changed.  With little interest in school and with fear of teachers (nuns) who were quick with a slap to the face, I spent my days in class secretly drawing in textbooks and making up stories. 

 

My first art teacher was my live-in girlfriend who I can truly say changed my course. Painting became everything. Subjects were everywhere. Inspired by the night life, I became a regular at the ‘Med Club’ and became friends with upcoming fellow artists Basquiat and Haring, Laurence Fishburne and David Byrne of The Talking Heads.  Around this time I got work in the fashion district as a printer in the art department of a buying house, a position in which I had to develop a keen sense of color, mixing printing inks to match the actual garments.  As the 80s ended with drug abuse and disease, I decided to relocate upstate.  Looking back it was a sound decision; it might have lost me some fame and some fortune but gave me life—the majority of my friends either died, became unstable or in some cases, just disappeared.  I now reside near Woodstock, NY.  

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