Jacques Soulas was born in France and grew up near Paris, where he studied ceramics and graphic design. In 1980, Mr. Soulas came to New Orleans and began attending the John McCrady Art School. In 1982, wanting to further my art studies he joined the New Orleans Academy of Fine arts on Magazine Street under the direction of Auseklis Ozols. He kept taking classes there while working as a waiter until 1993. Many of Mr. Soulas' paintings are in corporate and private collections throughout America. He currently shows his work in the Degas Gallery in the Arts District of New Orleans
Artist + Jacques Soulas
Describe your art in three words.
Color, fanciful, realism
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you love the most about creating art in your community?
living in New Orleans offers so many opportunities to create. Our senses come alive at every corner, from the sounds of music on the streets to the aromas of cooking by the nearby cafe. All these bits of life give me the push to paint.
What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
I live on Bayou St. john, the scenery there is always exceptional, from the old historic houses to the oak covered streets. Although I paint a lot of still lives, I have no doubt that what I pick up from my daily walks in the neighborhood influences my work.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
I start by sketching the scene if it's a landscape or the objects if it's a still life. I also use photographs as reference material which can be useful in defining a composition. Talking about composition, one of my big drivers for a new piece is to address the overall color harmony within the work. I pay a lot of attention to color, sometimes more so than the subject matter. I tend to simplify my color schemes using just a few colors and their derivatives. My color schemes tend to be simple, one main color in opposition to its complementary, such as blue versus orange and red versus green. Lately I have been using blues and blue grays in my background to vary the overall effect. Once my composition is ready, I enlarge it and transfer draw it to canvas , from there I block out the main objects of the main piece (what I call the positive space or foreground), the reason being that if it's fruit, vegetable, or flowers I need to do it quickly because they have a limited shelf life. I use as large a brush as possible and I'm conscious not to blend my brush strokes within an object, in fact I want the strokes to stay obvious, alive and fresh. I'm also very aware of keeping the edges between the foreground objects and the background or between two objects as soft and as wet as possible. I tried to achieve a blurry edge between objects
Where do you draw inspiration?
For the still lives I use glass (because I love reflections), fruits, vegetables (which I grow in my backyard) and any other common object I find around the house, I add colored and patterned cloth and combine all these elements into a composition.
If I'm doing a landscape my inspiration can be very fleeting; a glint of sunlight reflected in water or the shape of a shadow or structure, or foggy moisture rolling over the bayou can be enough to get me started. Sometimes I simply go to the grocery store and look in the aisle for inspiration.
Another way of getting inspiration is to go to museums and galleries to look for other artist work which can often be very inspiring.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
I am a huge fan of Van Gogh, His use of color especially his southern French period is awe-inspiring. I still learn from him when I look at his work. I also love the work of American pop artists: Roy Lichenstein and Wayne Thiebaud. Finally, I am especially fond of Caravaggio and Georges Latour.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
I co-own and still work in a restaurant, you can find me at Cafe Degas on Esplanade Avenue in New Orleans.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
In south Louisiana, how can you not love spring and fall. for painting landscape my favorite time is dawn or late afternoon. the light is golden and shimmers.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where y’Art Works Gallery by appointment.
Cafe Degas, 3127 Esplanade Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70119
My studio by appointment
You May Also Like
Meet the Artists
Local art is the lifeblood of our culture and communities. We source work from hundreds of painters, muralists, sculptors, metal workers, printmakers, illustrators, photographers, and textile artists, every one of whom is part of your local community.
Create your Account
With an account you can save favorite works, create collections, send messages to artists, store your shipping info, and more
I am an artist
Already a member? Sign in here
Don't have an account? Sign up here