How did you start making quilts and fiber-based work?
I started when I was at Maryland Institute College of Art. My major was painting, and I wanted to experiment and try different things outside of painting. So I took more fiber classes, such as screen printing on fabric, and fabric dyeing classes. The flexibility of it was very exciting — how I can paint on fabric, or I can glue fabric to paper and use different materials. I didn't feel like there were specific rules that I had to follow with the materials.
There are multiple processes that I go through, but my most recent one is I find family photos — I’ve scanned most of the family photos in my house — take figures, make a composition in Photoshop based off of an idea that I had, print through a company, hand sew it and machine sew it, sometimes collage the background with paper and paint, and then it’s finished.
Where did the quilt that’s in the show in particular come from?
When I first moved back to Miami, I went through kind of a slump of not being able to make visual art. So I started making poetry to write about my work, and I used those poems to inspire the artwork. The piece that's in the show is an example of the process of making an artwork based off of a poem. The title is Munmis November Babies: Moy Moy and Princess. Munmi is my mom, my brother's nickname is Moy Moy, and my little sister’s nickname is Princess. It started from a photo I found of them, and my idea was to use their environment in the piece to depict information about their personality while using the space that they are in. I also was really drawn to just the imagery of my oldest brother holding my little sister.
Many objects in the environment are made up, except for subjects like the figures and the couch. The Royal Danish cookies in the bottom right — in a lot of Caribbean families, after eating the cookies people would put objects like hair barrettes in there, and in my home the hair barrettes were used to do my sister’s hair. Or the Mario Kart — my brother would play Nintendo 64 all the time, and Mario Kart was a popular game in our house. He would always win.
So those are things that I choose to talk about a person’s experience from my perspective. And the interesting thing is that my siblings can look at the piece and completely understand what I'm saying, by just showing Mario Kart.
Can you tell me a little bit about your experience growing up in Miami? That’s obviously a super broad question, but I know that the Haitian community in Miami and religion in particular are a big focus of your work.
A lot of my experiences have to do with school, church, or home. I tend to think about the past, and the reasons for only being able to go to school, church, or home, and my parents’ anxieties about the outside world.
I've thought about this a lot with my experience with the news. One of my series, Adventures of Mako, is a series of pieces depicting myself as a child going from home to school. In Adventures of Mako 1 there is a scene of my dad praying in the background and 7 News is on the TV, which is the popular news channel in Miami. Watching that channel gave me a lot of anxiety. To this day, watching the news is fearful.
Was it just your mom, dad, sister, and brother growing up? What did home look like?
Well, I have four siblings. But the house has always been multiple people. We have a pretty large family — my parents were one of the first of my family to move to America, so they used the opportunities they had to help their siblings come here. Both of them have more than six siblings, and all of them are in Miami now.
Just right now, I was talking with my cousins about how my house has been a central place for family who have moved from Haiti to Miami. So growing up, there were multiple times where my aunt or uncle would move to Miami and live in our house for a year or so. It was something I've never really thought about. It seemed normal to me as a kid.
Mark Fleuridor was born and raised in Miami, Florida. He graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in Painting. Fleuridor recently completed the Vermont Studio Center Artist Residency (VT) and the Oxbow Artist Residency (MI). Fleuridor explores his own personal history within his Haitian background and familial religious experiences. These topics are explored through mediums such as painting, performance, quilting, and collage.