Tony Fitzpatrick at Slugfest 11/4 – 12/14/2009

tony-fitzpatrickChicago-based artist Tony Fitzpatrick has presented a mesmerizing collection of print/collage works in No. 9, An Artist’s Journal currently on view at Slugfest Gallery in Austin, TX. Comprised of several pieces all roughly 7.5 inches wide by 10.5 inches tall, the collection tells stories of places traveled and people known (and lost) as revealed in the subtle clues embedded using symbolic imagery and collaged objects. The ephemeral quality of the works are the result of both the actual bits of precisely cut graphic images adhered to the surface as well as the melancholic nature of the pieces as a whole. Mr. Fitzpatrick stacks cutout handwritten words in columns within each image that form poems that possibly hint at the meanings of each piece or perhaps of a moment experienced in the “story.” He frames each work with three or four matchbook covers, one in each corner of the piece. These matchbooks, which appear to date anywhere from the 1940’s through the 1960’s, often hail from bars and restaurants in New Orleans, a richly storied city where Mr. Fitzpatrick has spent some time. In fact, you may have seen his work on the cover of the Neville Brothers classic 1989 album Yellow Moon, to which he attributes the initial boost to his career as a visual artist.

The works in No. 9 strongly resemble–and are possibly a subset of a larger series of–works previously exhibited in New Orleans during the Prospect 1 Biennial earlier this year. Those works were also of similar scale and composition as the ones in No. 9 and were possibly even more compelling shown in New Orleans. However, beyond their obvious cultural references, the thread that runs throughout No. 9 and is even part of the Slugfest exhibition’s namesake is a reference to a dear, departed friend of Mr. Fitzpatrick, who bears the tattoo “No. 9” on his forearm as a memorial to his friend who would always say goodbye by reminding folks to be careful because “we’re already on our 9th life.”

Slugfest Printmaking Workshop and Gallery
Tony Fitzpatrick Official Website

No. 9

EricBelowSeaLevel: The Design of Erik Kiesewetter

ebslPeruse the portfolio of this New Orleans-based designer and try not to feel lazy! In addition to his commercial work, which is quite excellent, Mr. Kiesewetter has been busy working and collaborating on projects ranging from post/medium, an online artist/gallery portfolio management system for New Orleans artists, a screen-printed poster series for the historic 2nd-lining Nine Times Social & Pleasure Club and the Neighborhood Story Project, a book-making project based in New Orleans whose mission states “‘Our stories told by us,’ we work with writers in neighborhoods around New Orleans to create books about their communities.” Honestly, it’s difficult to tell which of Mr. Kiesewetter’s work is commercial or pro-bono as the level of quality and creativity remains consistently high. I recently purchased the first two issues of Constance, an art and literary magazine produced in New Orleans, which Mr. Kiesewetter collaborates on and is how I stumbled upon his work. You should take a look, yourself.

Do You Know What it Means?

Do you? I’m not sure you do, unless of course you start browsing the many family photos in this online memory project. hopes to avoid the type of catastrophic loss of visual history as which happened with the floodwaters of Katrina. Many photos seem to have survived a hurricane or flood or two, which would not be beyond the realm of possibilities for residents of New Orleans who seem to suffer a major “natural” disaster every generation or so. The snapshots instantly bring me back to my childhood. I have fond memories of “hurricane parties,” where several families on a street would convene to one house with the kids all running around the back yard and the dads setting up a giant cauldron atop a propane stove to boil crawfish, crabs and shrimp. Once the rains and heavy winds began the party would move indoors where the moms played BourrĂ© under hurricane lamps, the men tweaked their transistor radios and the kids pulled out their Nash Roberts hurricane tracking maps waiting for the inevitable eye to come…