In his paintings, Haitian artist Monel Aliote endeavors to convey the essence of a person to the viewer through portraiture. Going beyond a mere likeness, Aliote looks to the emotions, attitudes, intentions, and moods of the individuals he chooses to depict in an attempt to evoke the spirit and soul of the individual upon the canvas. These individuals, usually popular or influential figures in art or music, tend to be people whom Aliote admires and looks to for inspiration. As such, these paintings are powerful tributes to those whose work has helped him through tough times and inspired him to push himself to where he is today.
Born in Port-au-Prince, Aliote came to the United States at a young age and was forced to leave his family behind. Music acted for him as an escape, and his passion for portraiture grew out of depicting those whose music he was listening to in order to confront newfound diversity as well as lack of family. He began drawing at the age of six and has since further developed his self-taught ability by closely studying masters such as Kehinde Wiley, Kerry James Marshall, and Barkley L. Hendricks.