Jean Emmanuel Zamor

Jean Emmanuel Zamor, who signs his paintings “Zoom,” at work on some lettering for a new restaurant in the streets of Leogane.

Originally from Carrefour, the vast neighborhood that makes up most of the western outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Zamor lives with his family in Leogane, about an hour from the capital. One of Leogane’s foremost painters, he is the co-founder of an annual drawing and painting competition for children that draws hundreds of entrants each year, cultivating and promoting the arts among local youth. As we walked through the streets on a tour of his barbershop sign-painting work, he was constantly greeted by children and students who had participated in his program. Many of the images he uses to decorate hair salons and barbershops are drawn from one well-thumbed magazine of Afro-American hairstyles, some of which he exquisitely renders only in pencil. This choice is unique in my experience; he says this is precisely what makes it particularly eye-catching.

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Two variations on the original, taken from a catalogue of hairstyles called “Forever Braid.”

A Montana minister, rendered in Zoom’s unique line-art style.

Immaculate pencil-work for Gigi Studio de Beauté in Leogane. Zamor protects these drawings with layers of fixative, and says they actually last longer outdoors in the Caribbean sun than paintings.

An early, and now somewhat battered barbershop painting by “Zoom,” on the Grand Rue in Port-au-Prince.

More spectacular pencilwork by Zamor, for a barbershop only a few minutes walk from his home in Leogane.