As part of the Amazing Barbershop Project, we’re pleased to offer bespoke portraits by some of Port au Prince’s most accomplished barbershop artists. Typical single portraits start at $300.00 (USD) plus shipping, paid via Paypal, or personal check if you are known to us. Couples and other dual portraits are typically $400. For group portraits or other variations we will obtain a quote from the artist.
To order a painting based on a photograph you provide, choose the artist you would like to work with and then email your image and shipping address to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read the “fine print” at the bottom of this page for more details.
For more examples of each artist’s work please explore the links in the sidebar or click on their names in the photo captions below.
Your order helps support a working Haitian artist and fosters the creative arts in Haiti. The painters represented here are fully committed to their craft in what can be an extraordinarily difficult economic environment, and by ordering a painting you are encouraging indigenous, autodidactic artistic practice and entrepreneurialism, and you are doing it through direct employment.
Manou hair salon, Port-au-Prince, by Michel Lafleur
Nadou beauty studio, Jacmel, by Samandy
A beauty salon near Portail Leogane, by Jean Valmé
A poster by Lucas on the sheet-metal door of a Port-au-Prince Salon de Beauté
A metal sign by Jean Emmanuel Zamor, known as “Zoom,” in the streets of Leogane, Haiti.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Well-lit, high resolution, in-focus images make the best source material for these paintings.
- These are portraits, not copies of your photograph. Haitian barbershop artists are used to working from a photograph of someone and extracting their likeness and putting it on a solid-color background. If you want the same background that is in your photograph, or some other particular background, please let us know and we will convey your wishes to the artist. It is also possible to add text. Both of these might be considered special orders, and might be more expensive, in which case we will get back to you with an adjusted quote. Most of the paintings completed so far have included a phrase or a name or a few words of text at no additional cost.
- Please don’t be in a huge hurry. These are works of art, and the life of an artist in Haiti can be complicated. Your painting should be ready to ship in two weeks to one month. This is not a “click and add to shopping cart” kind of shopping experience, nor would you want it to be. We will try our best to convey any delays or issues to you as they arise.
- Shipping is comparatively expensive from Haiti. The postal service is unreliable if it functions at all. We use DHL. Depending on where you are in the world shipping will likely cost from 50 to $100 (USD). If you have a better solution or want to collect your painting in person, no problem, we’ll help with arrangements.
- Please expect to pay for your painting in advance, or at a minimum make a 50% deposit. Often the artists are not in a financial position to purchase the necessary materials until they receive a payment.
- All finished paintings are delivered to you as an unmounted canvas, mailed to you in a shipping tube. Most paintings are 24 x 30″ with some variation as needed based on the aspect ratio of your original photograph. Paintings of almost any size are possible, but may require a bit more time and negotiation. There are many youtube videos explaining the simple process of restretching your canvas onto premade wooden bars. I’ve typically used Fredrix stretcher bars, which are inexpensive, and available at Amazon and most decent art supply stores.
- Although we are sure that you will love your painting, we cannot guarantee that you will love it. These are one-of-a-kind works of art, of a particular vernacular style, and we assume you would not be ordering one unless you were interested in this unique aesthetic. So far not a single customer has expressed dissatisfaction.