"My Louisiana Muse" - Explaination of the project and my history

Our surroundings have a powerful effect on our day to day lives and this ongoing relationship has been documented by artists to help explain our connections. Poets, painters, and photographers have long used Louisiana’s coast and her plains as their muse, drawing inspiration from her flowing waters and her changing coast line.

With "My Louisiana Muse" i aim to produce fine art portraits of these very artists surrounded by their inspirations, dreams, and finished work. I want to bring together the lineage of Muse, Inspiration, and Art. I am honored to have some help with this project by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation Community Partnership Grant which will help me with supplies and operating costs. Thank you! This grant is a direct effect of how Jazz Fest can directly help Louisiana artists like me!

I guess i have to explain a little bit about the Bromoil and my history with it. I was taught the process by artist Sam Urrate in 2003 while he was still teaching at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Art. I really took to the Bromoils during his famous "Alternative Process" photograph class. I learned from him, then in 2004 had a solo show of Bromoils at the old 3 Ring Circus Big Top Gallery - some images shown here: (all are one of a kind)

 Anthony Dopsie
 Johnny Vidacovich and Stanton Moore
 "Quarter Sounds"
Rebirth at Tipitina's



The appealing thing about the Bromoil for me was the intense amount of control in post production that you have. When you are "finished" your traditional black and white silver print in the darkroom ( i put that in quotes, b/c you have to print it 1 -1/2 stops darker, so it's not really...finished) and you have bleached the emulsion (silver, or, shadow areas) you are ready to start the inking process.

bleached fiber prints


Tools of the trade


You have your brushes for the delicate application of the Lithography ink, or your rollers so you can cover more ground and add more pressure. The way you apply the ink has so much to do with how much ink adheres to the shadows. For "MLM" i will use Lith colors that i think help tell each story in a way the artists uses their inspiration. This process will be different for each person as their story and surroundings will dictate how i ink. As you apply the ink, you can use Saran Wrap, erasers, and paper to remove the ink, creating your custom contrasts wherever you want (the fun part!). Adding different colors also adds to this evolving texture control.

I have always been inspired by Louisiana, but i have always been more interested not in my own inspirations but other artists. I immediately see the connections between what they love about where they live, and i want to know more. An artist's geography and surroundings affect their art in so many ways, and i want to know more of the "how" and "why" in this. Do our surroundings inspire us subconsciously to make art? Do the struggles of our surroundings push us to make art that creates awareness?

Stay tuned to this blog as i begin to introduce you to the artists involved....

Zack
11/30/14