Winston Churchill was quoted as saying, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” While this instruction was given several centuries ago, the principle is still relevant today, especially for fellow friend of The Pulpit, J immy Camille.
If Jimmy Camille doesn’t ring a bell, then let us fill you in. Making his way from West Palm Beach to Miami, this 20 year old Haitian Picasso has proven himself to be a South Florida talent to undoubtedly look out for. Known best for his large paintings and sketchbook chronicles, Camille credits his talent to constantly reading and studying art during the monotonous days in West Palm, which we will dive into later.
Without any formal training, Camille is the perfect example of how some people are just born with ‘it.’ He remembers his first painting being of the legendary rap-tress and singer, Lauryn Hill, undoubtedly one of his inspirations as well as one of his signature masterpieces that you will see if you ever experience one of his showcases.
However, Camille also recounts when he saw an imitation of one of his works. “I work hard,” he says. “If you wanted it you could have told me. I don’t appreciate it. I work too hard.” Appreciative of other local artists’ work, especially those who came from a similar background as him, he feels that progress and success through trials are acceptable, but completely ripping off another artist’s creation is not.
In addition, if you were to look at Camille’s creations, you would be shocked to discover that the life and upbringings of the artist does not at all match the life, love, and beauty that is captured so eloquently on the canvas. Like many greats, Camille expressed how the struggles of homelessness and depression during his childhood contributed to his gift and built his greatest asset: his drive.
At just the tender age of 8, Camille was left to live with his father after his mother moved away. With the majority of his paintings being of women, he says that women are in fact his inspiration and his biggest supporters. Growing up, he witnessed many women in his life be abused and neglected, which led to his connection with women as a whole.
However, growing up, he encountered his own domestic issues with his father and stepmother. He admits that it was a trying time that almost led to suicide. “After that, I knew I didn’t want this life. So I had to do something.” He goes on to mention that at times his stepmother would deny him food. So being stuck in his room with no food and even no lights forced him to realize that it was up to him to break this cycle of abuse and neglect for himself and his future family. “My kids won’t ever have to beg,” he asserts. He still run into days where feeling low is inevitable, but he assures that he has forgiven his family and is much stronger now. He also states that he loves his mother and credits her for him not choosing the street life.
Camille intends to take a break from his art for a while so that he can cover life insurance and other necessities, but he assures that art will never lose a place in his heart. “No more settling, [I’m only] expanding. I want to make like a business to where I won’t have to work. I want to give my life more to God, go to church more often, make a difference, give back, have a family, travel, and continue to do art. ”
New beginnings await when you dare go through the fire. So as Churchill stated, “If you’re in hell, keep going.” Camille did, and his life couldn’t be any better. In fact, the young Michelangelo is just getting started, so stay tuned.