ABOVE: Loose Marbles Jazz Band in Fritzels bar
While in New Orleans I tried to draw as much as I could. Unfortunately and typically -during the exciting moments most deserving to be recorded in paint, I was having too much fun to concentrate. I did a couple of pictures from memory which I will post as soon as they are finished. I am coming to the opinion that drawing from life is all very good exercise but the GREATEST art must be done from memory or somewhere deeper - reverse memory - visions of the future or the past but NOT from life somehow. Anyhow, here are several pictures that were all drawn from life and painted from memory of friends, acquaintances and places in New Orleans during my month long stay there.
Above: SECOND LINING - for more info on this New Orleans beautiful weekly phenomenon check out my chapter on SECOND LINES on this site!
Shanty is a good old friend of mine who I met in croatia on out cycles in the summer of 2004 I think. He is a remarkable handyman and very caring friend always ready to help others. In fact he is called Shanty after the trailer on his bike where anyone would drop anything they did not want to carry. He was so fast he needed to be slowed down so he carried everyones things. His trailer was called shanty town because that is what it looked like and he was called shanty after his trailer! HO ho ho!
Above he is having a hair cut from another even older and very dear friend Gesina from Germany. She and I lived in the same house in the winter of 2003 in Barcelona. She is perhaps the most positive and loving person I know - I feel like she is a really special friend. Here she is giving Shanty a haircut. What with us both being Europeans I felt somehow even closer to her in New Orleans! They are doing the operation outside the hut on Rosie Lee lane at the back of Miss Jane's home where Shanty and I were staying. Below is Shanty playing clarinet:
Dizzy a Turkish born washboard player who had lived last few years in New York. Charming girl and always very elegantly dressed and also a fantastic musician - very sensitive and always jumping around with the music.
Willy is a very Talented song writer and guitarist. Very easy to get along with - modest and touching. He is humble which is remarkable considering the beauty of his songs. I have come to the conclusion that in so far as song writing is concerned - it is perhaps the most unjust talent - those who write the worst songs can get very far while people who spill their soul into words are too deep or meaningful or write too powerful music for others to appreciate. Or maybe it is just all taste and bad taste. In my opinion if you dont like the music people like Willy write then you are a moron or a Philestine or both but probably worse!
Lester and a girl whose name i forgot - posing in a courtyard with an umbrella during the intermittant sweaty menacing rain before the storm came. Lester was a neighbour of Miss Jane's and had been brought up as an acrobat and figure skater as a child. He could still do a back-flip before breakfast with a work belt on but all I ever saw him doing was smoking, drinking and chilling out. Very fun and engaging man - very agreeable, talented and kind.
Hassan - fantastic local singer and pianist! Very good company and sly chess player! Great fun to hang out with!
Emily in bed - she kindly let me stay in her flat when there was no room at Miss Jane's - although some nights she was so tired from work that she would be asleep when i arrived and asleep when i left and would not even know i had been there. I made this picture as a thankyou present for her hospitality and her deep kindness and generoscity of time in giving me private swing dance tuition.
Downtown New Orleans - The town became rich in the 80s when oil was found in the gulf but then bust and many of the big office blocks down town are empty and rotting. This is a typical street scene in the Central Business District (CBD for short). Empty bare streets with big shadows and strong sunlight and often a solid wind coming off the Mississippi and mowing between the skeletonal office blocks and rattling the empty can or bottle across the silent streets.
I have forgotton this girl's name - i saw her at the 2nd Line and smiled but we met next day at a party where i did painting of her which she was very sympathetic about - i am glad to say it looks much prettier and more like her in colour than the original in black and white - i hope she gets to see this - please tell me if you know her name!
Brett - more commonly known as Chigago - you have never seen a man who enjoys a cigarette and glass of beer as much as this cat - and as for his playing - a truly catholic repertoir of music from Debussy and Rachmaninov to Jelly Roll and Scott Joplin and lots of pop and original compositions too. A real hero on the piano and a truly beautiful cat with so much talent he glows!
Chance the dance teacher - very slick Lindihop dancer and devoted teacher and very genuine nice fella. He has established lindihop classes in New orleans and is also a slick tap dancer who can be often seen strutting for the Loose Marbles on Royal Street.
A well dressed Spanish girl I met on the street and painted.