I started painting in the summer of 2012. I had just started dating my now-wife, Georgia, when Hurricane Isaac rolled through New Orleans. We'd lost power and gone through our board games, and she suggested we paint. I had never drawn or painted in my adult life. But didn't want to seem like a stick-in-the-mud, so I painted. And I loved it. And I have painted like a man possessed ever since. Because I'm self-taught, my style is evolving as l grow as a painter. But I always try to keep my paintings colorful and expressive. My paintings have been displayed at numerous exhibitions, galleries, and museums in New Orleans, and were part of a feature story for a local news affiliate.
Artist + Spencer Schulz
Describe your art in three words.
Labors of love.
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?
New Orleans is a perfect place to paint. The architecture is perfect. Our houses are colorful, old, and full of character. Our landscapes are perfect. I'm a sucker for hazy, dreamy swamp scenes because I grew up in Florida. Our people are perfect. Weathered and colorful is how I like my houses, bayous and people.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
Painting is really an adventure. When start a painting I have a very rough outline of what the scene entails. But what ends up on the canvas is always a product of the little decisions along the way: where to place a stroke, what color it should be, etc. And each little decision informs the next one. I don't know from the start what my painting is going to look like. I just trust my gut and let it happen, trusting the sum of those little decisions will add up to something larger.
I do have a very quirky painting habit. I always listen to music when I paint. If a song just fits with what I'm painting, I'll listen to that song on repeat until the painting's done. Sometimes that's a day. Sometimes in a week. But always the same song. It basically just keeps me in the same head-space for the entire time I paint and gives the painting a specific rhythm. I honest-to-god think this results in more cohesive paintings. I feel very strongly about this.
Where do you draw inspiration?
Knowing there are ways of seeing and painting a scene that I haven't yet stumbled on.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
J.C. Leyendecker, Terrance Osbourne, Tom Thomson, Vincent Van Gogh, Wayne Thiebaud, James Gurney, Edward Norling, Thomas Hart Benton.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
"I met myself in a dream. And I just want to tell you everything was alright. Hey now, baby, I'm beginning to see the light." Beginning to See the Light - Velvet Underground
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
Loving up on my wife and dogs.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
I'm a morning person.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
When I was a kid, my brothers and I would make what we called "the Jar of Mysterious Smells." We would combine the most disgusting things we could think of, e.g., milk, orange juice, vinegar, pickles, etc., in the jar, bury it, let it marinate for a week, and then open it. It smelled horrific every time, but never the same kind of horrific. So we kept doing it. Because of the mystery.
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