It’s finally here! For the last 12 days, we’ve been counting down to Shop Local Saturday. For those that aren’t familiar with this very special day, Small Business Saturday, or Shop Local Saturday, is the day we celebrate the Shop Small movement to drive shoppers to local merchants across the U.S. This is a day we celebrate because it supports what we’re about here at Where Y’Art. Our mission to build a community of sustainable local artists by highlighting the art & talent being made right here in our neighborhoods.. In honor of the day, we’ve put together a list of 12 original works by local New Orleans artists, all with a story worth sharing.
This necklace is truly a piece of Megan Victoria. She even included a lock of her own hair as the belle’s braid. The little girl was originally made of porcelain, like a real doll, and then was cast into bronze. Inside, the clapper of the bell is a carved anatomical heart. The silk string and pearl beads were acquired in the Caribbean where the artist was visiting her family. When you wear this piece, you will feel the love and care that went into making it.
Kristin Malone didn’t drink until she was 25. When she finally did, she dove head in — with a Sazerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans, at the Swizzle Stick Bar. She figured it was an essential part of becoming a true New Orleanian — and I think we would all agree. Understandably, the first (and last) sip didn’t go down well. It’s not exactly a beginner’s cocktail. Years later, Kristin was approached by The Sazerac Company to create some artwork for them and she jumped at the opportunity. Now her home decor brand, Home Malone, is one of the few companies authorized to sell items with the official Sazerac logo on them.
Day 10: Alivia’s Birds, Kate Hanrahan
November 15th was the one year anniversary of ExhibitBE‘s opening exhibition and to keep it’s story alive we celebrated with a print of a work from the five-story graffiti collaboration. ExhibitBE was a large scale outdoor art experience at De Gaulle Manor, an abandoned Algiers apartment complex that was the site of a massive pre-Thanksgiving eviction in 2006. In the time that it was abandoned, graffiti artist Brandan Odums led a group of other artists to use the building’s walls as their canvas. In unison with Prospect.3, the third New Orleans contemporary art biennial, the site was opened to the public for viewing prior to demolition. You can keep a piece of ExhibitBE in your home with this print of Kate Hanrahan’s work, “Alivia’s Birds”, inspired by one of her art students.
We would be sorely amiss if we were telling stories about New Orleans artists and didn’t include Allen Toussaint. Erika Goldring, a local music photographer, captured this picture of Toussaint playing with The Funky Meters less than a month before his passing. We featured this photograph on November 20, the day of his tribute at the Orpheum Theater. Toussaint was a New Orleans musician, producer, and composer who grew up in Mid-City and he was an inspiration to many of his fellow musicians. The Funky Meters, also a New Orleans band, often accompanied Allen Toussaint as his house band.
Day 8: Gator, Devin DeWulf
It took Devin DeWulf two years to complete the embroidery, which he sewed by hand, on this painting. The painting takes its inspiration from Devin’s favorite Louisiana cookbook, After the Hunt by John Folse. Devin is famous for adding small objects to paintings and clothing — his creation of a red beans suit for his first New Orleans Halloween inspired him to start the Redbeans Parade, which parades through the Marigny on Lundi Gras. In the tradition of Mardi Gras Indians, members of the group make an original bean suit each year to parade in. We featured Devin’s work on November 21, the day of the Redbeans Parade’s Carnival Season Kick-Off Party. Join the fun!
Day 7: Foundations #2, Tony Hollums
As you might have guessed from his artwork, Tony Hollums was originally a musician. Like so many artists, his move to New Orleans was the catalyst for focusing on his art full-time. Now his work draws heavily from his time as a musician. His drawings are deeply intricate and each tells a story – in Foundations #2, the artist says “the band’s jam grows the tree and the notes fly off, collide, and turn into people as they fall. The people then build a city and run up and turn back into notes, completing the cycle and keeping the music flowing.”
If you live in New Orleans, you’re sure to have at least one story of an unwelcome interaction with a Nutria. Non-native to the area, they have become quite the pest and are now caught for a bounty. Tracy Hamlin has decided to bring fur to her customers in the most ethical way possible: by using the pelt of an animal that is over-populating the area. Now you can wear fur without feeling guilty! For more information about why wearing Nutria fur is eco-friendly, visit the website of Righteous Fur.
One of the many lessons the city of New Orleans can teach you is not to let anything get you down. In the wake of a disaster, pick up your pieces and turn them into something even more beautiful. Wyoming Quinn & Scott Greenfield are big fans of this attitude. In the aftermath of Katrina they went around the city collecting these lath boards, which were used in the old buildings of New Orleans and could be found in piles everywhere you went. They have been creating up-cycled home goods out of them ever since. This lath board vase also uses a vintage glass. You can use your own bottle or buy one from the artists.
This men’s bracelet is engraved with the coordinates for the heart of New Orleans. When you wear it you guarantee that no matter how far you wander, you will always be able to find your way back home. This bracelet is also available in brass and silver for men, as well as in women’s sizes in silver and rose gold.
This little bee is all about self-confidence. The artist drew some of her inspiration from the Pussyfooters, an amateur dance troupe of women over 30 that has grown to be a much-loved part of Mardi Gras parades. The group has found that performing together encourages a positive self-image in its members. This print will help you channel those girl power vibes in your home.
When the tradition of the Mardi Gras Indians began, it was used as a way to settle scores. With the police focused on the chaos of Mardi Gras, it was easier for crimes to go unnoticed. Saddened by the violence he witnessed around him, Allison “Tootie” Montana decided to change the nature of the Mardi Gras Indian tribes. As Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas Tribe, Tootie began creating beautiful costumes. He encouraged other chiefs to settle scores by competing to have the most elaborate costume, song, and dance instead of with violence. This is how he came to be acknowledged as Chief of Chiefs.
Day 1: Pencils, Tony Nozero
Tony Nozero’s medium of choice is usually paint. But he kept being told that he should draw more, so he decided to order some colored pencils and give it a shot. Once they arrived, he ended up painting them. A true testament that inspiration can strike anywhere, at anytime, and by anything: even the utensils used to create can be the inspiration
“When you buy from an independent artist, you are buying more than just a painting or a novel or a song. You are buying hundreds of hours of experimentation and thousands of failures. You are buying days, weeks, months, years of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are buying nights of worry about paying the rent, having enough money to eat, having enough money to feed the children, the birds, the dog. You aren’t just buying a thing – you are buying a piece of heart, part of a soul, a private moment in someone’s life. Most importantly, you are buying that artist more time to do something they are truly passionate about; something that makes all of the above worth the fear and doubt; something that puts the life into living.” – Rebekah Plett
Written by Megan Thomas