"Ya just where ya are & dat's where it's at" Dr. John.
I have been drawing since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Painting came a little later but not by much. I was born and raised in New Orleans until my parents divorced. My mom remarried a military man and so we moved around a bit and it was hard to make friends but I always had my art to occupy my time. My mother was a pianist and she did a little dabbling around in the paint so she tried to teach me what she knew. I didn't have any formal art training until maybe high school & then I learned how to draw circles, lines, and the fundamentals in college. That was also where I got to paint with oils for the first time and my professor told me I was a natural. None of my professors were sticklers for technique, they allowed us just to play around and figure things out or maybe that's just the way I remember it. Painting really was my first true love until music came into my life.
For about 10 years I abandoned my first love without a second thought except for an occasional commission or entry into a show. I was a singer in a blues band and that was immediate gratification and audience interactive. So different from my first love painting who required hours of solo work without any exposure to the outside world. I learned how to play guitar so I could accompany myself and tell my own stories, interned at a local studio to learn the recording process & gigged in and around New Orleans. I also needed to pay the bills so up until recently I had a full time job as a buyer and retail manager.
I put the finishing touches on an album I had in the can and needed artwork for the cover. There was zero budget so I decided to do portraits of my trio to use as the album artwork. That was in 2017 and I released the CD in December of that year. At the time I was managing 6 retail spaces so I knew I would not have time to do a CD release party until spring of 2018. To make it special I decided to do portraits of the musicians that contributed on that album and hold a combined art show & CD release party in May of 2018. The "Something Out Of Nothing" show was held at Treo on Tulane Ave. Later that same year I had a one woman show "With a Little Help From My Friends" at The Artisan Cafe on St. Claude in October/November of 2018. Again combining my two loves art & music, I showcased my paintings and my trio performed each month during the St. Claude Art Walk.
My creative process is just one foot in front of the other, taking and making the next logical step in the unfolding and ever evolving act of creating and discovery. I never know what I'm gonna get up to but I'm excited to see. One thing I know for sure, it will continue to involve all of the characters of New Orleans that I am constantly inspired by.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words.
Vibrant, Colorful, Fun
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
I find the people, specifically the musicians and creative community endlessly supportive. It is such a welcoming and inclusive place to create in. There are so many characters (said in your best Dr. John voice) everywhere you look. So much portrait inspiration right out of your front door.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
I LOVE details it is my OCD heaven. I'm pretty laid back in everyday life but in my paintings I love to add detail even when there isn't any. I like to take reference photos of my subjects in daylight to capture as much detail as I can. I will take time dreaming up ideas about what I might do but I don't have any preconceived notions about what the piece will turn out to be. I don't sketch out the portrait, I just get to work slapping the paint on the canvas when I begin and let my intuition guide me and show me where to place the paint.
Where do you draw inspiration?
I find people endlessly fascinating. The musicians, creatives, & characters of this city spark my imagination. People in New Orleans & South Louisiana know how to live a life well lived. We have all been through some things but still pull together to help out each other. Young and old, rich and poor, and people of all colors can live together in this melting pot of humanity and still watch out for ya mama and dem.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
Everything I feel, see, hear, taste, & smell are artistic influences and are drawn from and into the work I create. Life is my teacher and guru.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
"I like making something out of nothing, creation can be such fun! I like making something out of nothing, I know I'm not the only one. Like my daddy before me, I'm certainly not all thumbs. I like making something out of nothing, I know I'm not the only one." That is from a song I wrote about creating. I'm also a singer songwriter and that is off of my last album, Something out of Nothing. You can get the CD at Louisiana Music Factory or stream from most online services.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
Out and about enjoying live music or hanging with my 92lb pup Max.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
Spring festival season is my favorite time of the year.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
I ran the Marine Corp Marathon for fun and lived to tell about it.
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Where You Can Find My Work
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where Y’Art Gallery by appointment.