Hailing from New Orleans, my creative side has always been inspired by the built environment around me and the various states of its decay, as well as the fleeting ephemera we often fail to appreciate each day.
My jewelry work comprising metal etchings of historic New Orleans maps - some dating from as early as the 1700s culled from archives - make permanent an ephemeral aspect of our city’s history. From raw sheets of metal they transform into jewelry through an intensive, handcrafted process involving heat image transfers, various etchants, patinas and polishes, as well as hammer forming, ultimately becoming small, wearable archives in suspension.
This adornment immortalizes the transitory landscapes of New Orleans’ history: from trade routes and forgotten swamps to abandoned asylums whose architectural residue still decorates the landscape today. My mixed media jewelry lines are composed, quite literally, of lost fragments from the past - from remnants of Victorian era shoes to porcelain dolls excavated from old world privies with a local salvage expert.
Ultimately, my work blurs the lines between the past and the present, weaving the historic antique with a contemporary chic.
Brandi Couvillon is a New Orleans artist living and working between two rivers - the Mississippi and the Amazon.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words.
Reflective, Evocative, Transformative
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
For the last 10 years my home and studio have been in the Lower Garden District in a Victorian House circa 1880. It’s an intriguing block on the edge of the Warehouse District at the true beginning of the LGD. Our block is so unique with its historic architecture in tack - once surrounded by Cotton Factories, the Texas Pacific Railroad Station and the Saulet Plantation.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
There is a common thread to my work but because of the varying materials used in my work - from found objects culled up from century old privies to the etched maps of the landscape around us, there is no one ritual in particular. The entire experience of creating from beginning to the ever end is a ritual - traveling, exploring, absorbing.
Where do you draw inspiration?
Hailing from New Orleans, my creative side has always been inspired by the natural and built environment dancing around me and the various states of decay, as well as the fleeting ephemera we often fail to appreciate each day.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
Ersy Schwartz’s sculptural work has a dark, surrealist quality I find compelling, leaving one feeling as if they were swept away into a Southern gothic story. Her meticulous renderings of birds or mice in bronze castings are exquisite as much as they are tragically comical.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
Andrew Bird's lyrics are so layered, acting as instruments themselves. They are so perfectly partnered with his melodies - a whistle can send me back in time, a violin pluck can propel me into the future and an esoteric lyric can swing me into other orbits.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
I enjoy my time at my home in the Lower Garden District, sitting in the window of my studio watching the world, relaxing on the balcony taking in a birds eye view of the river or in the backyard appreciating the serenity of the pond and garden.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
I love the crisp, fresh light of the mornings where anything is possible.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
I’m looking forward to continuing my travels in Brazil with my partner - living between the Mississippi and the Amazon and exploring communities in the lower Amazon basin.
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Where You Can Find My Work
My work can be found at the Where Y'Art Satellite Gallery at the Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where Y’Art Gallery by appointment.
The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art
The Historic New Orleans Collection
The New Orleans Museum of Art
Ariodante Contemporary Craft Gallery