A mostly self-taught wire jewelry artist, I have lived in New Orleans for about 25 years and love to create pieces that reflect my love of the home that has adopted me.
My Louisiana Live Oak collection of wearable wire sculpture came into being after Katrina when I wanted to create jewelry not just beautiful, but meaningful. This work gained recognition from the Times-Picayune which named me one of the "Best New Artists" at the 2014 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Renee Dodge is a New Orleans artist living and working in Bywater.
Questions & Answers
Describe your art in three words.
Wearable Wire Sculpture
Describe yourself in one word.
**What do you love the most about creating art in New Orleans?
I never need to worry about finding inspiration. It's almost too much, it's literally everywhere.
What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?**
It sounds cliche, but the whole energy and vibe of Bywater.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
It starts with a lot of procrastination! I ponder, I think, I observe, I imagine, I engineer. Then I start to put it all together and realize, wow, that doesn't quite work. But what doesn't work usually has some pretty good clues as to what will, so I always try to listen to the work. I'm a total process geek.
Where do you draw inspiration?
The air, the sky, the rhythm, the architecture, the colors and, of course, the trees.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
Van Gogh. Because of the passion he brought to his art. The connection from his heart to the canvas is so direct. Jewelry-wise, I enjoy looking at estate jewelry.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
I would say it's more a musical moment that speaks to my work. It was New Year's Eve going into 2006. It was a cold, drizzling, sparkling night. There were fewer people on Jackson Square than you usually see lined up at Cafe du Monde on any given day. But when Arlo Guthrie came onstage and sang City of New Orleans, we all knew exactly why we had returned.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
Escorting unsuspecting visitors on tours of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
I love a cool Spring morning when it smells like rain and feels like anything can happen. I also love the first twinge of Autumn with its wisp of melancholy in the air.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
My oak trees are the only plant life I have ever had luck with! Some people are just born with a black thumb. My case is far worse, I am indeed the Dr. Kevorkian of botany.
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Where You Can Find My Work
All works listed online are available to be viewed at Where Y’Art Gallery by appointment. Come see me at the Arts Market of New Orleans at Palmer Park on the last Saturday of every month. A collection of the Live Oaks can also be found at The Shop at the Collection, part of the gorgeous new facility of The Historic New Orleans Collection at 520 Royal Street.