At only 18 years old, Onel Davidson Jeanbaptiste is at the top of his game. With a bubbly and charismatic presence on his YouTube channel “Shifty Ops,” Onel shares his story and passion online in the hopes that it pushes his viewers to break through whatever barriers stand in their way.
Onel D. Jeanbaptiste was only six years old when he discovered his love for the arts. While honing his craft at such a tender age, he also found himself becoming well-versed in life’s hardships.
The artist had a rough childhood growing up. After moving from his birthplace in Haiti to the United States, Onel and his family lived in the basement of a well-known family friend in New York before they were kicked out for unknown reasons. From there, they jumped from place to place until settling in a one-bed, one-bath apartment in the Flatbush junction area.
As their family grew to five, financial issues started to plague them. Onel’s mother and father were often out looking for better-paying jobs to keep food on the table. Due to their absence, the artist had to step up and trade his brush for a spatula. At 12 years old, he was doing all the house chores and taking care of his siblings.
By the time he entered high school at 14, Onel D. Jeanbaptiste was clinically depressed and suicidal. The stress of growing up quickly and the bullying he received from his classmates for being overweight took a toll on him, and he struggled to see the way out.
Onel’s parents were overworked, and their financial situation was not getting any better. So he kept his emotions all bottled up. This spilled over into five failed suicidal attempts. Realizing another way out, Onel D. Jeanbaptiste picked up his brush and drew an escape from reality.
Deciding to expand his artistic abilities daily initiated his return to the happy boy he once was—until his family moved for the fifth time. Moving to Milford, Delaware, in 2018 meant that the teen had to start all over again. This drove Onel back into his depression, and he began starving himself in the day and binging food at midnight.
Finding comfort in food, the young artist shifted his art into cooking, and he soon discovered a zest for life. He fell in love with painting for the third time. Onel slaved away over his canvass day and night, slowly gaining recognition from his family, friends, and classmates.
His newfound confidence in his work shone in the many contests he won, and the gold decorating his shelf woke a passion in the brilliant painter. Despite being thrown back by the COVID-19 crisis, Onel shouldered on and displayed his pieces on his popular YouTube Channel “Shifty Ops.”
“I want to be able to share my love for art with anyone from any generation,” he proudly reveals. “I feel like the way art changed my life shouldn’t be something that I keep to myself.”
On Shifty Ops, Onel D. Jeanbaptiste is a charming and influential character who empowers people to appreciate and bask in different life colors. “Life is too short for you to allow anything to keep you down; it’s too short to allow anyone to tell you that what you’re doing is wrong. It’s too short for you to allow people to tell you how you should feel, act and react. Love yourself, love your family, and turn your dreams into goals.”