Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Egg and Turkey Peddlers

In another of the six panels on the Breaux Mart mural, I depict a couple of the door-to-door peddlers that used to be omni-present in the residential neighborhoods of New Orleans. We once had many people selling goods as they roamed the streets, each with their own unique call as they strolled past houses. Both of these peddlers were inspired by actual illustrations made in the 1880's by itinerant artists such as found in water-colorist Leon Fremaux's book and Leslie Frank's Illustrated Newspaper.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Makin' Groceries #3

This scene represents the colonnaded walk in the French Quarter that now has stores built in its center portion. This walk was one of the first places in the city to have gas light starting in 1860's, which was very modern and high-tech in its day. Native Americans were also omni-present in the market all the way until the 1950's, from what some old-timers tell me. To me the most important thing was that there were more ethnic groups in constant contact with each other in New Orleans than any other place in the country perhaps, with the exception of New York, at that time...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Makin' Groceries: Post #2

Here is another scene from my Breaux Mart mural. New Orleans was the first port in the US to import bananas around the turn of the last century. My imagery is based on two photos, one of which was taken in 1904, and the other soon afer.

Monday, April 17, 2017

"Makin' Groceries in Early New Orleans", Breaux Mart Mural #2

The new mural for Breaux Mart's Toledano Street wall is now complete- or perhaps I should say, I've stopped myself from working on it! As may folks say, it's not easy for many artists to declare a painting completed, especially one on this scale! This is definitely my most challenging project to date, and Salvador Dali sometimes spent a year working on paintings smaller than this wall. All this said, the mural includes six historic vignettes framed in tromp l'oeil arches, to help transform an ordinary cinder block wall into something in the spirit of 19th century architecture. Each view is designed and painted to make you feel as if you are looking through the wall into another time when we did not simply pick up all our sustenance from one store. The first one I want to share is the milk wagon, which made rounds through the neighborhoods, parked near the Ursuline Convent with a nun approaching to purchase milk. It is based on a photo of a "milk man" taken in the late 19th century, clearly in the French Quarter- most likely Decatur Street, though I have used artistic license in placing him near the convent and adding the nun, who would have been a common site in that area into the 1950's or '60's.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Mayor's Viewing Stand

On Friday February 10th, I got a phone call from the Mayor's Office saying that they decided, in the 11th hour, to have new art painted for the newly constructed stand... but could I design and paint it by Wednesday, February 15th?! When the Mayor's Office calls, it's hard to say no despite whatever else is going on. I had it designed by late that evening and began painting on it Sunday. Everything was completed on schedule, ahead of impending rain. That Monday, the mayor came by to personally inspect the installation of all the viewing stands, and he was very happy to see the progress. The best part was seeing it on TV on Mardi Gras Day as the mayor danced in front of it with King Zulu, then toasted him and later, King Rex from his newly painted podium.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A. Vargas Bidy Shop Sign

While recently working on the Toledano St. mural for Breaux Mart, I was asked by Mr. Alex Vargas to consider repainting the 40-year old signage mural for his body shop. Truthfully, the entire wall had to be replaced due to termite damage, and I used old photos to recreate the look. I happily "fit it in", by adding an additional week rental for the scissor lift. Regarding the latest Breaux Mart mural, my perfectionist streak is waiting to post photos of it, though folks constantly stop to take photos and tell me how much they love it, which deeply pleases me. It will take at least another month to complete.