Tag Archives: new orleans

Fancy

fancy
Recently I have been asked by quite a few people to do interviews about my art. I always do it of course, and usually it is a positive experience. I also never talk about these interviews before they are published.

However, I am going to break that rule to talk about a phone interview I did with an extremely sweet young woman. Bless her heart. She was a young journalist trying to pitch a series of “profiles of southern artists” to a national magazine.

Sweet as she was, I knew this interview was not going to go well with her first question: “What are some of the more exotic places you have traveled to in order to find inspiration for your work?” I laughed when she said it – which I think confused her a bit. I explained to her that most of my inspiration came from the countryside in Mississippi where I grew up. I could hear a note of disappointment in her voice.

She quickly moved on to her next question: “I understand you have sold pieces to celebrities and sports figures. Is that exciting for you?” Again my response failed to impress. “Well yes, but they just buy things from me, it’s not like we hang out or anything. Actually, I still get excited every time I sell a painting no matter who buys it.” She was starting to get annoyed. She asked me many more questions, searching for something glamorous about me. Part of me wanted to try to exaggerate things, paint myself with a little more color, but that is just not me.

I have been very fortunate in my life to go to some pretty fancy places, to meet and know some very fancy people, and let’s just say I don’t really freak out anymore if someone serves me a $190 bottle of wine (though, I would still freak out if I had to pay for it). I also like having beautiful things around me in my home. All that being said, I wouldn’t call myself a fancy person, and I think those who know me would agree.

Finally, out of what must have been sheer desperation, she said me “New Orleans is such a great food town with fabulous restaurants. I’ll bet you’ve had some great dining experiences.” “I have,” I replied. Then she asked “What is your favorite food?” When I told her that if I was being honest that my favorite food was purple hull peas and cornbread, I could tell the interview was over.

I doubt you will ever see it in print.

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Halloween

halloweenI always get a little nostalgic around Halloween.

Up until I was 30 years old, I worked in New York City making costumes for a living. So every year around this time, when I see everyone so excited about getting “dressed up” and getting their costumes together, it takes me back to the days when costuming was such a big part of my life. I would have been fired from so many movies and shows if they had known how often I “borrowed” costumes to wear out for a night on the town.

One thing New York and New Orleans have in common is that people love to get dressed up. Having access to Broadway and movie caliber costumes meant it was fairly easy for me to get into any club. Nobody held the rope up when you walked in wearing a set of 10-foot articulating angel wings (thanks Angels in America), or an anatomically correct, full body wolf costume with coordinating motorcycle cap and jacket (thanks Stephen Sondheim).

It was difficult to navigate the subway sometimes, or walk the street in 9-inch platform shoes, or to get a cab to stop when you were dressed as a Disney villain. I remember having to ride in the front seat of the cab one time while my friend Jacques had to lie down across the back seat because his wig was too tall. I sort of remember spending New Year’s Eve at the Roxy dressed as – well I am not actually sure what it was – but it was big and flashy and earned me a great place on the dance floor because it poked a lot of people when they got too close.

Making my way home at the end of the night was just about the only downside. Stepping out of an after hours club into 8am rush hour traffic on Sixth Avenue dressed as some 7-foot (including heels) incarnation of Madonna with a crooked wig and smeared makeup can be quite a jolt. My favorite thing about that – just like in New Orleans – was that no one thought a thing of it. Just another day in the Big Apple/Easy.

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Opening Acts

eccentricLet me just say upfront that I love all of the openings we host at our gallery. I love the guests. I love the energy. And I love getting to hear people talk about art.

But by far my favorite opening event of the year is Art for Art’s Sake. Most of the time when you host an art exhibition you feel a little bit like you are on stage for the evening – it’s even worse when the exhibition is of your art. I love it, but it can be a bit serious and sometimes a bit stressful. That’s why Art for Art’s Sake is so much fun. It’s the one opening of the year when I can relax and enjoy the party… and the people-watching.

Let’s face it, when you have an evening that draws thousands people and you give away free wine, you are bound to attract a few “characters.” And I’ve seen my share over the years. I once found a woman wandering around the gallery with her arms outstretched trying to sense the spirits of the paintings. One self described “freelance chiropractor” insisted on trying to give me an adjustment over a bench in the middle of the crowded gallery. Then there was the amateur flamenco dancer who started an impromptu performance and nearly shook all the paintings off the walls before I could stop her. I’ve even had to put out a small fire caused by someone who thought every candle I have for sale should be lit.

And then you would be surprised by the way wine can inspire art appreciation. I’ve had so many people end up in tears over how much the art (and the wine) had “moved” them. One of my guest artists told me about watching a woman looking very closely at one of his paintings. She had a very strange look on her face and seemed to be about to speak. As he started to approach her to ask what she thought of his work, she sneezed on his painting and walked away.

Lastly, I have to pay homage to one of my perennial favorites, the poor young woman who over-indulged, with her dress hiked up in the back, her hair disheveled, and her heel broken. I always see her as we are locking up at the end of the night as she tries to navigate her way home down our uneven New Orleans sidewalks (but girl, I’ve been there too).

The folks in New Orleans are the best art patrons in the world, and the few oddities only add to my appreciation of the whole experience. I can’t tell you how much I love being a part of it – probably because I fit right in.

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