Part of the ongoing 300 for 300 project honoring the people who have made New Orleans who she is today. I was honored to paint Germaine Bazzle, she is an icon and was a blast to paint!
The icon: Germaine Bazzle.
The legacy: With her rich voice and exquisite sense of timing, Germaine Bazzle could have been a serious rival to Irma Thomas if she had devoted her life exclusively to singing. But she chose, with no regrets, to teach generations of girls choir and music appreciation at Xavier Prep, continuing until she retired in 2008. The inspiration, she told OffBeat magazine, came from Sister Letitia, one of her teachers, who told her, "You're going to be a teacher." Said Bazzle: "It didn't sound very strange to me because there were teachers in my family... I said, 'Okay,' and didn't think anything of it at all. She saw in me what I am."
The artist: Alexandra Kilburn.
The quote: "Teaching was what I was supposed to do--the (music) gigs are what I could do. As far as I was concerned, I had the best of both worlds." -- Germaine Bazzle, in a 2015 interview with OffBeat magazine
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Gouache on Paper
12" x 12"
Shipping cost: $20.00
I am a painter, muralist, illustrator, and designer, living and working in the French Quarter. I work in a variety of painting media including oil, acrylic, gouache, and house paint, and my painting style varies widely according to the chosen media. My work emphasizes the strength of femininity and nature, attempting to offer space for peace (particularly in these times of great national strife). I am originally from Atlanta, but have lived in Prague, Boston, Chicago, New York, Halifax, and Cape Town before settling in New Orleans in 2014. Each place has contributed invaluable inspiration for my studio practice, for which I will be forever grateful for. In addition to painting projects, I also co-run Luna Raae, a vintage clothing pop up that focuses on celebrating New Orleans style expression and encourages divestment from fast fashion.
My oil paintings, which I call "Where-Scapes", explore imaginary spaces that linger between worlds and inspire a sense of curiosity as coping mechanism for loss. I am thinking about the dualism of absence and presence, exploring where a human imprint is felt in an ethereal space and light can emerge from darkness.
My 'Saints' are created on salvaged wood using acrylic or latex paint. They are imaginary deities inspired by the celebratory spirituality of the crescent city, containing elements of medieval iconography, Russian nesting dolls, contemporary street art, and American folk art. These goddess figures are intended to bring good energy into the spaces they inhabit. They are a meditative release to create, an opportunity to play with color and pattern in inventing character.
My murals involve layers of botanical imagery, encouraging reflection on the unparalleled beauty of our natural world, and our tragic, but primary, role in its destruction. I hope to inspire a sense of joyful calm within small businesses and homes in the city, similar to that which can be achieved in nature as a reminder for the value of its conservation.
I am very grateful to Where Y'Art and the Nola Media Group for having me participate in the 300 for 300 project, highlighting remarkable people who have contributed to the beautiful place we all call home. I do all of these portraits in gouache on paper, using information gathered through research to include elements of each persons story in their portrait. It has been a fun and challenging journey so far and I look forward to working on this throughout the year.
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