Guerda Faustin

Guerda was born an artist in the western side of the exotic and beautiful Hispaniola Island, Haiti.  At a very prime age, she started to experience drawing and coloring with her older sisters, who soon will just give up to explore different other hobbies such as playing musical instruments, singing, and crafts.  Although Guerda developed interest in those hobbies as well and played the violin for a few years as an adolescent, she remained passionate and persistent with visual arts. She spent her childhood and adolescent years playing with colors and shapes and experienced with different media such as colored pencil, gouache, pastel and acrylic.  At the age of nine, she received from one of her brother’s friendswho was an artist, her first bag of treasure consisted of ready-to-be- discarded tubes of hard pieces of oil paint, and a few brushes with almost no bristles left and no instructions on how to use them. She also received her first book of art from one of her sisters on her birthday, that year. Guerda felt inexplicable joy receiving those precious gifts of real oil paint and art book which will further encourage her natural curiosity to explore. Hence she started to use her own school allowance that she received from her mother who lived in the United States of America to buy art materials, art magazines and text books from which she learned some basic techniques.  At the age of 14, using her own pocket money, Guerda signed up to take Saturday art classes at the well known “Centre d’art Haitien” wishing to work under the supervision of a more experienced artist and to learn more techniques.  At her deception, they did not literally provide any formal instructions; students were only provided with models and were encouraged to draw what they saw; to perform. Soon Guerda realized that she was the only maker of her art; that an artist cannot be molded by any techniques taught in any schools.  As a self taught young artist, Guerda found inspiration in every subjects and everything around her. She sees beauty and goodness in everything and everyone.  That greatness in our humanity and environment is what was captured in Guerda’s early works. On her grandmother’s front porch in Port- au-Prince, after all school assignments were completed, Guerda spent her evenings and entire summer vacations painting nudes, beautiful Haitian landscapes, figures, still life, and portrait.

Guerda attended the State University of Haiti for two years studying Psychology.  In 1992, Guerda’s life took a different detour. She migrated to the United States of America to unite with her mother. Since childhood she has always demonstrated great strength and interest in literature, arts and the sciences. As a new immigrant living in an apartment building for the first time, she describes her transition to her new lifestyle as a “rough passage” mainly because of the lack of opportunity for her to paint freely outdoor, anytime and to practice the violin.  She soon gave up the violin because “of the noise”. Upon arrival to the USA, she attended Kingsborough community college and majored in Physical therapy. While taking all the sciences courses to complete the pre-professional phase of the program, the more her art suffered the more her passion for art continued to grow. In 1995, she decided to take an intermediate art course as an elective. There, the chairman of the art department who happened to be her art professor, acknowledged her gift and told her “if you ever think about changing your major to art, come talk to me”. Guerda won two awards at the end of the course, The Presidential Purchase award and the art gallery award, for one of her pieces which made it to the annual art exhibit. That art piece became part of the university’s property and is still in display at the University. She also sold may other pieces to students attending the same art course. That was a big boost for a young artist who was just enjoying doing her art, her greatest, simplest pleasure. At the same time it was a dilemma for Guerda deciding in which direction to take her carrier. The uncertainty of the art world, the unfamiliar environment, the encouragement of her big sisters and brother pushing for higher education and stability first, (knowing her abilities in the sciences and other subject areas) and  Guerda’s own perspectives on her life goals made her realize she could do both.  After earning her Associate degree in Physical Therapy, she decided to pursue a carrier in the health sciences. She transferred to Long Island University where she earned her master’s degrees in biology and Occupational Therapy (OT).  She has been practicing as a pediatric OT, providing early intervention services to children (0-3 years old) with a variety of diagnosis and also servicing school-aged children within the school system. Guerda has been very happy with her career choice because she finds ways to incorporate different aspects of her art into her therapeutic interventions. As a very goal oriented, independent professional woman, Guerda finds time to be her worst enemy. However art is what she refuses to give up.

As a therapist and an artist, Guerda’s new approach to art is therapeutic to self and others. She finds peace and harmony for herself and creates her own private zone when she is painting. Her art is all about healing the soul, embracing the causes of those voices that have never been heard, capturing and expressing the emotions and feelings of those people that are forced to suppress them; eternalizing the stories of the broken, the sick and the poor and elevating the spirit of all art lovers through esthetic.