Recently I was asked to be interviewed by art blogger Ava Wright (https://contemporaryartglobally.wordpress.com/). Ava is aware of my ongoing series of monoprints on Mardi Gras characters, but wanted to know a little more about the inspiration behind them. It got me thinking.
It would be easy, like the Big Easy, just to say it is the people, the costumes, the pageantry of Mardi Gras that inspires me. The more I thought about it; the less that seemed to be it. Crazy dressed party people inspire me? Nor the other stuff. Interests me yes, inspire no.
So what does inspire me? In my work there is often a long lag time between when I first see characters at Mardi Gras and the time I start to interpret them into a print. After reviewing photos of possible subjects, my process starts with very rough thumbnails. (Below) I start working out basic composition. Often concurrently I am testing possible color schemes for the final piece. This is when I have my Ahh Moment. I realize planning how the subject is to be seen is the real inspiration. A feeling comes over me. It is the excitement to bring this character to life. To be on view. To be seen. Actually for them, to be seen again. First, my subjects are inspired by Mardi Gras to parade their costumed-selves up and down the French Quarter for all to see. Then I take a part of them, add my vision and put them back on display the way I want you to see them. Since my work also encompasses other subjects including abstracts and not just my Mardi Gras characters, I must say it is the creative process that is truly inspiring. And perhaps one day I will have an opening in New Orleans and I'll hear someone exclaim, "Ooo, that's me."