Jesus Loves the Little Children
In honor of Black History Month, we are pleased to introduce you to the artwork of Jessica Strahan on loan from Gallery Veronique.
Jessica is a painter and muralist native to and based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Self-taught, She creates portraits that amplify the African influence on New Orleans culture, from the city’s neighborhood cultural practices to its shot-gun architecture and culinary traditions to the facial features and hair stylings of its residents. Her paintings play in the parallels and dissonance between the past and the present to create windows into imagined futures. They investigate the meaning of home for a people who carry both the ancestral memory and lived experience of mass displacement – due to enslavement and Hurricane Katrina.
Jessica's paintings have been exhibited, collected, and published nationally and her murals color neighborhoods throughout New Orleans. When asked to describe her artwork in three words she said, " Uncompromising raw emotion".
In turn, when asked to describe herself in one word she said, "Resilient"
It was these characteristics and her beautiful portraits of children that drew Veronique to select her paintings for Gallery Veronique in Harper's Point. Veronique has owned the gallery for 28 years and continues to fill her life with artistic mediums that feed her soul and her passion for bringing art into each of our lives.
Veronique joined St. Barnabas in 1995 and we are so fortunate to have her lively spirit and creativity in our parish. During a recent interview, Veronique shared her passion for the gallery and her art.
What drew you to Jessica's paintings of these striking little girls?
I love figurative art, every time there is figurative art I’m always attracted to it. I love the graphic aspect to it, I love the coloring. I like that she played with them, it’s not supposed to be totally realistic, it’s more of an impression, it gives you feelings towards each one of those kids. Whimsical, goofy, dramatic, it’s all about the emotion of the person not really about what they look like. Plus, I love the series. I think one painting is great but when you can have a series it can give you more insight into what the artist is feeling. That’s why I’m attracted to this art and what attracted me to Jessica.
Why are you so passionate about your work?
Well, I don’t feel like I am ever working. Looking at art, finding art, selling art, talking to people, I love people. So trying to find them the right piece and adding beauty into their life is never really work for me. It feels natural and fun. Everyday is different, no two days are the same. You also get a real insight into other people’s lives when you sell them art because you can see how they see things, which is interesting to me too. How can you complain about working with art all around you everyday? All the time ~ it’s so much fun for me.
How do you select art for your gallery?
Art shows, travel, I love to go to other galleries when I travel. I try to pick new artists and find new concepts. I love different mediums, so if somebody works in a medium that I’m not used to, I’m even more attracted. Somebody might paint on plexiglass, somebody might paint on crumpled paper or ceramic and I’m always attracted to a different medium that I don’t have in the gallery. Artists also contact me and and if they are the quality I'm looking for and have consistency in their work, then I may take them into Gallery Veronique.
How does all of this art feed your soul?
When you find an artist that you absolutely love, you feel like there is a little spark in your soul that is being touched. Even if I haven’t met them in person, I feel them through their art. And when you aren't able to take it out of your mind, it means that there was a connection with another person that felt what you felt.
If you would like to learn more about Jessica, you can visit her website and follow her on Instagram.
If you would like to bring more art into your life, drop by Gallery Veronique , stroll through the gallery and fill your soul.