I've been a part of panels before, but this was a special one for me - it was the first panel where I wasn't a moderator, but an artist participant. I'm in such outstanding company here. I had been wanting to meet Martin Payton (to my right) since I saw his piece and my friend Elise Toups told me what a charismatic and insightful instructor he was. Indeed, when he walked in and I shook his hand, I could feel his warmth. Listening to him talk about his work reminded me how growing up in the city of New Orleans differs artistically from growing up in the surrounding swamps. He's talking about Jazz cats, and I'm talking about swamp lilies...and it's all the same thing, really. It is who we are.
On the other side of me is hyper-realist Carole Feureman. This lady, I can't even tell you how much I admire this woman. Her focus and artistic hand is absolutely mind-blowing. The feeling in her work is raw, not just because it looks so real, but because of the subject matter she chooses to create, and her purposeful creation of larger than life, intimate moments.
I didn't have enough time to get to know Dean Ruck and Greer Farris. I was very excited to see Greer's piece installed across from mine because I think they get along really well together. Both of these artists work with very reflective materials, which reminds me of camouflage and hunting blinds. Carole, Dean, and Greer have new pieces now on Poydras. Martin and I are currently displaying work, and may be rotating ours out soon to make way for new pieces.
I really love being a part of Sculpture For New Orleans. I remember meeting the founder Michael Manjarris (also a sculptor) in 2008, and hearing him talk about what he wanted to do. From that first meeting, to being on this panel, I feel really lucky to have people like Michael in my life. He understands the power of art and has spearheaded a purposeful collaborative contribution to the city that could only have been accomplished by a creative leader.