Thursday, August 31, 2017

McMillian's Academy

The McMillians have run an incredible day care center since their children were toddlers, but now their three children have graduated from college, two of them are teaching at a new Academy the family founded two years ago. And just like the day care center and preschool, they insist on having custom art adorn their halls. These are four portraits I recently painted to inspire the kids as they pass through the hall.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

"John Schneider Presents"

In late July, I painted some signage for John Schneider Studios... He and his partner, Alicia Allain are working on a series of live shows on his 58-acre premises in Holden, LA, slightly North of Hammond. The background for these the concert series will be the side of an old, weathered barn, and they wanted to stay in keeping with that look. To accomplish this, I removed a minimal amount of vines, and applied the paint in washes, clear-coating my work for longevity after I was done. Our inspiration was the look of a barn painted with "SEE LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN CHATTANOOGA,TN", though I used a banner shape to help the red and black letters pop off. I was proud of my clever idea to make a microphone chord spell out the word, "Presents", which I felt used the off-center division in his name to great effect.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Krewe of NYX: Boutique Mural

In July, I completed a mural for the Krewe of NYX. Their signature throws are custom-decorated purses,and therefore their signature float is actually a rolling purse, featured here in a microcosm of New Orleans. They uniquely have an area set up as a boutique for its members, though only open at certain times of the year, hence the shelves rolled to the side for the photo. They were wonderful ladies to work for, very organized, and extremely appreciative to boot!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Rebirth float: Steve Gleason

Someone recently requested that I post some photos of my Saints floats- and I have been struggling to find the photos I feel sure I took of them. I likely mislaid the SD Card that has them on there, and I will find it ANY DAY NOW. We have to tell ourselves these things... Meanwhile, here are a couple I found on my phone of the Rebirth float. You can tell that I had not finished them yet based on the unfinished collars. So sad that I don't have one of Drew Brees, who also appears on the float in that iconic photo with all three holding their arms up, the words "No White Flags" written across them. I will post photos of a couple of the other floats soon.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"Makin' Groceries...": Post #5

Here are the final two panels for my Breaux Mart mural, "Makin' Groceries in Early New Orleans". One features a creole couple strolling by the dry goods market. If one of them bears a strange resemblance to Obama, that is no mistake! A neighbor requested I include him in the scene so that he can see him every time he steps outside his door so he can feel like "he really is still here with us". The one with Cafe du Monde combines an image of Rose Nicaud with the famous coffee stand she laid the ground work for. In New Orleans, slave owners traditionally gave their forced laborers Sundays off. Rose Nicaud saw how busy the market place was on this day, and decided to sell fresh, hot coffee to the shoppers. This enabled her to buy her freedom and make that her full-time employment.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Private Courtyard Mural

I still have a a little more work on this 10' x 60+' mural, but I feel good enough about it to post a few photos of it. It is in the private courtyard of a wonderful gentleman who rides in the Krewe of Rex, and was commissioned as a gift by his lovely wife. It features him riding with a friend the float he rides on annually, as well as the one he first rode on, which is the reknowned Le Boef Gras. It also features all ten of the grandchildren in the mural- twice! The mural spans across two walls, each approximately 30'. The first section encompasses all of one 30' length, and allows them to enjoy some Louisiana scenery outside their kitchen window. The other wall is divided by a tree about 2/3 across. The largest section reminds them of the joyful times they enjoy as a family during Mardi Gras. The last section features the grandkids sitting as they would for a family portrait on and around a picnic table.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Phoenix Float

This is a classic look for a float- covered in flames to ignite the imagination as it rolls by in the dark of night. There can be a number of thematical reasons for a float to be "ungulfed in flames"- but this is part of a Winged Mythological Beast theme that Universal employed for its Mardi Gras parade in Orlando last year. This look never goes out of style- even if I'm a year late in posting this!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

"Makin' Groceries...": Post #4

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...": Post #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", Post #1

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.